The Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) Plant of the Month (POM) for May 2022 is the Buttercup, scientifically known as Cochlospermum religiosum (Linn.) Alston is from the family Cochlospermaceae and is native to India, Myanmar, and Thailand.
Its leaves are palmately lobed (3-5) with long petioles mostly located at the tip of the branches. They are hairy underneath and shed at the height of the flowering season. Meanwhile, its flowers are large (10cm wide) and bright yellow borne on the terminal branch. The flowers look like large-sized buttercups! The name ‘religiosum’ means sacred and of religious rites as the flowers of this tree are used as a temple offering. Buttercup fruits are capsules made up of five segments. Green when young and turns brown when it matures. As the capsule splits open black seeds covered in silky cotton white hairs are released. The Genus Cochlospermum is from the Greek words “kochlos” which means snail and “sperma” which means seed because the seeds resemble a snail.
The plant has many uses. In India, the tree is used as a temple plant and its flowers are used as offerings. Barks are extracted and used for the preparation of medicines. Moreover, the immature fruit is used as medium to cooked mixture (flour ragi and gram with jaggery) cooked in fire and is given to cure tumors of the stomach.
Did you know?
The plant’s silky cotton is said to induce sleep when stuffed into pillows!
By AALimpiada and ACMalayba