Characteristics of Narra Tree (Pterocarpus indicus) in the Wild

Pterocarpus indicus
Narra or Angsana is a plant species native to southeast Asia, northern Australasia, and the islands of the western Pacific Ocean. This tree is known by many names, especially the wood called Amboyna wood, Malay Padauk, Papua New Guinea rosewood, Philippine mahogany, Andaman redwood, and Burmese rosewood.

The narra tree is one of two species (the other being Eysenhardtia polystacha) which is used as a source of traditional medicine to treat various types of ailments.

Currently, the narra tree population is threatened because of the large number of illegal logging aimed at extracting the wood. In Vietnam, the narra tree is extinct, maybe in Sri Lanka and Peninsular Malaysia too. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, permission from the authorities is required to cut narra trees.

 

Characteristics of Narra Leaf

Pterocarpus indicus Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Plantaholic Sheila

Narra leaves 15-22 cm long, 15-35 cm wide, pinnate, with 5-11 leaflets.

 

Characteristics of Narra Flower

Pterocarpus indicus Flower
Source : flickr.com/SierraSunrise

The flowers are 6-13 cm in diameter which contain several flowers. The flowers appear in February-May in the Philippines, Kalimantan, and the Malay peninsula. Narra flowers are slightly fragrant and have yellow or orange petals.

 

Characteristics of Narra Fruit

Pterocarpus indicus Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Plantaholic Sheila

The fruit is 2-3 cm in diameter, surrounded by flat membranaceous wings 4-6 cm in diameter. The fruit contains one or two seeds and does not split when dropped. Narra fruits ripen in 4-6 years and turn purple when dry.

 

Characteristics of Narra Tree

Pterocarpus indicus Tree
Source : redd.it

Narra is a large deciduous tree that can grow to a height of 35-40 meters, with a trunk diameter of up to 2 meters.

The narra tree is recommended as a roadside shade tree and is sometimes planted in city parks. The roof of the leaves is dome-shaped, with long branches that are very attractive when the flowers bloom. Narra flowers are also very spectacular if it grows in areas with a consistent dry season.

 
NARRA TREE BENEFITS

Narra wood is characterized by hard, purplish, termite resistant, and has a rose scent. Often narra wood is used to make furniture.

Narra wood is classified as premium wood which means that it is suitable for making high-end furniture, such as for making wood carvings and musical instruments.

The narra flowers are used as infused honey, while the leaves are used for shampoo.

Narra leaves are used in traditional medicine to treat various health problems. The leaves contain flavonoids, which provide health benefits for humans, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and can prevent kidney damage.

In traditional medicine, narra leaves are used to treat tumors. This belief may be due to the acid polypeptide found in the leaves.

Narra is also a source of lignum nephriticum, to treat diuretics in Europe during the 16th to 18th centuries.

In agroforestry, narra trees help maintain ecosystem fertility, soil stability and can fix nitrogen by forming endosymbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in the roots.

 

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