Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra
Appendix 2.2: botanical notes
P. 4. Kuśa is Poa cynosuroides, the same as darbha, a grass used in sacrificial ceremonies. Its leaf has a very sharp point. It is considered very undesirable in cultivated ground.
P. 34. Dūrvā-grass is Cynodon dactylon, the vernacular dūb. It is frequently grown over sacred places. It is also an important fodder-grass.
P. 39. Śāla, Shorea robusta, the śāl. Ordinarily covered with a thick growth of creepers, to which reference is often made.
P. 51. Gośīrṣa-sandal, a brass-colored, very fragrant sandal (MW).
P. 62. Arjaka, Ocimum gratissimum. Its blossoms grow in clusters, the flowers in a cluster number from 3 to 8, and the clusters on a branch from 6 to 10.
P. 72. Bimba, Cephalandra indica, a cucurbitaceous plant. Its fruit is very red and smooth, and is commonly used as a symbol of unsurpassable redness.
P. 84. Ketakī, Pandanus odoratissimus, the screw pine. It forms dense, impenetrable thickets.
P. 84. Kurubaka, usually identified as red amaranth or red barleria. Watt considers it to be Lawsonia alba, the henna plant. The kurubaka is said to bloom from a woman’s embrace.
P. 84. Aśoka, Saraca indica, a tree with beautiful red blossoms which are very fragrant at night. It is said to blossom from a woman’s kick.
P. 84. Bakula, Mimusops elengi, the Indian medlar. It has white fragrant flowers. It is said to blossom from the nectar from women’s mouths.
P. 85. Arka, the red-flowered Calotropis gigantea, the swallow-wort. Its most common vernacular names are āk, ākaṇḍa, madār, and ruī. Its fluff, arkatūla, is an illustration of something easily blown about.
P. 85. Rājādana, Buchanania latifolia.
P. 85. Saptacchada, Alstonia scholaris. Its wood is used for slates, hence its name. According to the Śabdasāgara, each leaf has 7 little leaves.
P. 263. Priyāla, Buchanania latifolia.
P. 283. Priyaṅgu, Aglaia odorata (syn. Aglaia Roxburghiana).
P. 309. Śirīsa, Albizzia Lebbek (syn. Mimosa sirissa). Its petals are a symbol of softness and delicacy.
P. 319. Punnāga, probably the Calophyllum inophyllum, “a large tree of the Coromandel coast with beautiful white fragrant blossoms and numerous stamens arranged in rows.” This is Dutt’s opinion and the weight of evidence is in favour of the C. inophyllum. The references in our text are satisfied by the C. inophyllum. But Roxburgh, Brandis, and Watt take punnāga to be the Ṛottlera tinctoria.
P. 328. Mālūra, Aegle marmelos, the bel, which is known especially for the use of its leaves in Śiva worship.