In Asia, most countries have an indigenous reddish hardwood called Narra (Pterocarpus indicus).
As a result of its numerous uses, the Narra was declared by the governor-general as the national tree of the Philippines.
Narra Trees are large, reaching heights of 33 meters, and have trunks with a diameter of two meters. The trunks at the base are typically seven meters in diameter and fluted. The Narra branches are long at first, then arch over and eventually droop at the ends.
Narra Trees facts for kids
- Plants belonging to the family Fabaceae have 766 genera and over 19,500 species and can be found in various climates and habitats.
- Within its genus, Pterocarpus, there are over 60 species in tropical climes.
- This plant has a wide distribution, and it is highly diverse, both morphologically and ecologically.
- The morphological features of leaflets, flowers, and fruits can vary among intraspecific species.
- Several scientists have also proposed that the two forms of it are the same. However, this hasn’t been confirmed by most scientists.
- This tree is commonly found throughout the Philippines in low and medium-altitude primary and secondary forests.
- Despite its endemic distribution, this tree is also cultivated and naturalized in other parts of the world, including Central and South America.
- Its natural habitat includes seashores, tidal creeks, and rivers, where Narra plants can grow by seeds or cuttings.
- There are also instances when it is seen sprouting on open forest slopes, coastal forests, rocky shores, and seasonal swamps, and small villages.
What is the Narra Tree used for
- Narra trees are used for their fruit and can be sold commercially as ornamentals and shade trees.
- Due to its nitrogen-rich foliage fall and living fences around pastures, it is also used as a borderline and windbreak around food croplands.
- The Narra wood is classified in the Philippines as one of the most beneficial hardwoods found in the region. It has been widely used in both construction and manufacturing for centuries.
- There are numerous products made with its wood, including cabinetry, cartwheels, musical instruments, carvings, and some amazing furniture.
- Traditionally Narra is used in Malaysia to treat mouth sores, bladder issues, orchestra diseases, as well as syphilis, headaches, diarrhea, and dropsy. Boils, prickly heat, and ulcers are common conditions in Javanese.
- Filipinos use a number of medications made from Narra extract for helping to treat illnesses and diseases such as leprosy, menstrual cramps, flu, arthritis, and diabetes.
- This plant is used in Papua New Guinea for tuberculosis, headaches, sores, and purgatives. In the Solomon Islands, it is used for dysentery, menorrhagia, and gonorrhea.
- A significant part of the Narra’s floral production is nectar and pollen, which is a source of food for bees. Additionally, its presence can stabilize the soil in the regions in which it occurs.
Distribution And Habitat
- It is being used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry for its immune-enhancing properties and allegedly for its anti-asthma properties.
- Carcinostatic effects were observed in ascitic mice with Ehrlich tumors using polyphenolic antiplasmin constituents from the bark of Narra trees.
- Wood extractives are being increasingly used for preservative treatment of wood in order to stop subterranean termite activity.
- Various extracts from Narra leaves and stem barks were tested for antimicrobial activity. The samples showed a wide range of antimicrobial activity, more noticeable in the butanol and methanol fractions.