Botanical Representation of Rudraksha
According to the old mythological epic "Shiv Purana", Rudraksha was the favorite tree of Lord Shiva and it grew in Gauda land (present day Gangetic plains to foothills of Himalayas).
Researches shows that these trees are mostly found in South Eastern Asian Islands of Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Bali, Iran, Java, Timor (Indonesia) and parts of South Asian Kingdom of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma, Myanmar, Tibet, Thailand, Malaysia, India, and northern parts of Australia, New Zealand, New Calidonia, Fiji, Philippines, South China, Japan and Hawaii.
Botanical Name: Elaeocarpus Ganitrus Roxb.
Type: E. serratus Linn, Eganitrus, Roxb, etc.
Eleocarpus is a Greek word formed by the combination of Elaei and Carpus. In Greek, Elaei means 'wild olive' tree and Carpus means 'fruit' therefore the seed of fruit from wild olive like trees is known as Elaeocarpus.
In India Rudraksha is spelt differently in different languages.
|Sanskrit, Hindi & Marathi||Rudraksha|
The Rudraksha tree inhabits areas starting from Manila, Philippines and passing through Myanmar to entire North-East India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. However, in present era, the Rudraksha tree is localized only in Eastern Nepal due to suitable climatic conditions.
Around 70% of the Rudraksha trees are found in Indonesia, 25% in Nepal and 5% in India. Considered a major stress reliever, reducing circulatory problems and of course as the best beads, the berry (Elaeocarpus Ganitrus) was first spotted in Indonesia and is now grown in Nepal and Hardware.
Rudraksha is a large, evergreen broad-leaved tree found in tropical and sub-tropical areas at the altitudes ranging from seacoast to 2,000 meters above the sea level. The tree is a perennial i.e. grows throughout the year.
Size of Tree
The Tree of Rudraksha is about 50-200 feet high. It may be 14.60 meters to 29.20 meters tall depending on the area and the climate. The diameter of trunk is upto 1.22 meter.
Shape of Rudraksha Tree
The main trunk of the Rudraksha tree is cylindrical with a grayish white and rough textured bark. In Nature, leafy crown of a Rudraksha tree takes a pyramidal shape.
Rudraksha leaves are like mango tree leaves and its length is about 17.78 cms and width is between 2.54 cm to 4.45 cms. The leaves of Rudraksha tree are shinning green on the upper side with a dull leathery dorsal side.In the beginning these leaves are light green in colour and turn into deep green at the time of maturity and changes into yellowish red before turning grey coffee colour and falling. This cycle of leaves continues all over the tree throughout the year.
Rudraksha flowers are white with fringed petals and they appear in April-May. Its flowers exhibit mild aroma or fragrance like raat ki rani. The flowers of the Rudraksha appear in bunch but smaller than that of leaf.
Rudraksha fruits appear in June and ripen by August-October but it occurs only when the tree is seven to eight years old. Rudraksha fruits are globular in shape with a fleshy exterior. The size of the fruit is 2cms to 4cms in diameter and is green in colour. After maturity the colour of fruit starts turning into bluish violet from green and then into deep brown and then finally into black in colour.
Rudraksha Beads The bead is inside the fruit which we call the seed of the fruit of Rudraksha. The bead present inside is hard and tubercled. The bead has very hard rough surface having uneven grooves and a long cavity in the centre from the point where it's main is attached to the stem. The bead contains seed/s inside and receives their nourishment from the central cavity. From the central cavity vertical clefts remain attached. Each cleft has separate compartment having one internal seed. The joint of these cleft preludes outside the body of the seed. This joint is visible from outside. This joint is known as mukhi or dhari or we call facet.
Cultivation of Rudraksha Trees
Rudraksha farming is a difficult process due to the slow sprouting from the beads. Depending on the humidity of the soil, it usually takes 1-2 years for a tree to sprout. Rudraksha is grown in subtropical climatic regions with temperature ranges of 25-30 degree centigrade. The tree starts giving fruit after 7 years. A single Rudraksha tree bears beads in all different faces or mukhis at the same time. The higher mukhis or faces are very rare. Most common Rudraksha bead is the five faceted or panchmukhi. Rudraksha upto 21 mukhis are found and documented. But 22 to 29 mukhis have also been obtained.
The environment and location of Rudraksha trees plays a major role in the bead formation and the type of bead formed. e.g: The Himalayan beads seem larger, heavier and more powerful due to the environment they grow in.
Elaeocarpus trees are planted for ornamental purposes as bunches of blue fruits all over the tree give a very scenic look.
Family of Elaeocarpaceae :
The family of Elaeocarpaceae has six important taxa.
1. Elaeocarpus Ganitrus : It is found in Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia and smaller number in northern region of Bihar Assam Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh. In ancient scriptures they are considered as pure and authentic.
2. E. Floribundus Blume : The bark of these tree is used to cure the diseases of gums.
3. E. Olingus Mast : Its fruit is used in treatment of ulcers, rheumatic pneumonia, leprosy and piles. Its wood is suitable for making matchboxes.
4. E. Petiolatus Wall : The juice of its leaves is used to cure sunstroke and its roots are used to cure fever.
5. E. Serratus Linn : The leaves of this Rudraksha is used to cure rheumatism and as a antidote to poison.
6. E. Tuberculatus : The bark of the tree is used to cure haemetemesis and indigestion while the seed is used as a remedy of typhoid fever and elilepsy.