Aegle marmelos

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Name and publication

Aegle marmelos (L.) Corrêa, Trans. Linn. Soc. London 5: 223 (1800).

Description

The fruits of the bael tree are called bael nuts, belani, belani apples, or kuruchi fruit in the trade. The potpourri item may be either (1) whole dried fruits, (2) fruits with the top, pulp, and seeds removed, or (3) slices with pulp and seeds. Occasionally, in the dried flower market, the whole fruits (tops, pulp, and seeds removed) are mounted on a stick. Fruits are a subglobose berry, 3-13 cm in diameter. Cut fruits have the appearance of orange slices with a deep orange or light brick red pulp and radially arranged 8-20 cells, each of which may bear 6-10 oblong, compressed, hairy seeds. The pulp is mucilaginous with the consistency of marmalade when fresh but hardens to the appearance of cardboard upon drying.

Nativity and distribution

Aegle marmelos is native to the Indian Subcontinent and Indo-China but cultivated in Malesia for the fruits, which not only are edible and medicinal but reputedly aphrodisiacal.

Family

Rutaceae

Synonymy

Belou marmelos (L.) A. Lyons

Crateva marmelos L.