Nagkeshar (Mesua Ferrea) is a medium-sized evergreen tree. The plant is native to India.
It is the national tree of Sri Lanka. It is also commonly known as Indian rose chestnut, Ceylon ironwood, cobra's saffron etc. Nagkeshar belongs to the family of Calophyllaceae.
Nagkeshar is a low maintenance plant.
The plant is easy to grow in your backyard or in your garden. They have moderate needs of water sunlight and fertilizers.
The leaves of the plant have a unique feature. The upper side of the leaves is glossy and dark green in color while the lower side is blue-gray in color. While the new baby leaves are reddish pink in color.
The average height of the plant is around 30mt and are about 90cm in diameter. The leaves of the plant are narrow and 14 cm long.
The leaves are dark green to grayish in color.
A well draining fertile soil is necessary for Nagkeshar. Make sure you check the ph of the soil occasionally. If the soil is getting acidic then mix fine calcium or limestone in the soil and if it is turning alkaline in nature then add some ground sulfur. It is inadvisable to plant Nagkeshar in a squishy soil environment.
Nagkeshar requires direct sunlight. You can promote its growth by providing them with full sun to partial shade. 7 hours of direct sunlight could stimulate the growth of the plant.
The plant has moderate water needs. Water the plant with 4 to 5 cups of water daily especially during the growing season.
It is rare that the Nagkeshar bloom with flowers. The flowers are about 4 to 6 cm in diameter. They have around three to four white petals and a yellow stamen. They boom between the month of March and June.
Nageshkar also bears dark brown color fruits. The fruits are usually seen in the months of October and November. The plant is completely dormant during the spring.
From the aromatic flowers which are used in the manufacturing of perfumes to the hard timber, the plant is a multipurpose plant. The stamen of Nagkeshar produces Kesar(saffron) which is sold everywhere.
It is believed that the plant can treat urinary tract disorders, vomiting, migraine etc.
The plant is also used in Ayurveda. You may find it in various herbal foods like Chyawanprash.
The plant is used as an ornamental plant in the houses because of its unique shape.
Some say that the dried flowers of Nagkeshar can be used to treat bleeding Hemorrhoids and dysentery with mucus.
This small sized evergreen tree can be subjected to various pests. They are home for various birds. You may find various moths and bugs around the bark of the tree. From Scarab beetles to Leafrollers. The pests try to destroy the plant.
Removing beetles with chemical pesticides are usually unsatisfactory. Manually removing them would be more efficient. Apart from this, spray organic fertilizers, vinegar and neem water over the leaves and the stem to get rid of the bugs and leaf rollers.