India is a country with many religions. Here, people live in a close relationship with nature. In some religions, plants are rendered sacred. The Shiva linga tree is one such flowering plant that is held sacred in Hinduism and Buddhism. You can easily find this tree in many Shiva temples across India. The tree is also commonly found in Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Names of the Shiva linga tree in different languages
The Shiva Linga tree is also called the Naga Linga tree. The petals of the shiva linga flowers that this tree bears resemble the shape of a snake's hood. In Hindi, the tree is called Shiv Kamal or Kailaspati. Similarly, in Tamil, it is known as Nagalingam, in Kannada, Nagalinga Pushpa, and Nagamalli or Mallikarjuna flowers in Telugu. The flowers of this tree are sacred among Shaivites and these are the flowers for shiva.
In English, the tree is known as the Cannonball tree, as its fruits are in the shape of a cannonball. Fruits of the Nagalinga tree are large and spherical.
The Botanical name of the Naga Linga tree is guianensis, which was named by the French botanist J. F. Aublet.
Physiology of Nagalinga Tree
Usually, the Shiva Linga tree is 35 meters high and has trunks full of flowers. While some Nagalinga trees bear flowers, others don't produce any. The Shiva Linga tree can bear up to one thousand flowers at its peak daily.
The shiva lingam flowers bear a strong aroma that increases at night and stays till early morning. If you live close to a Naga Linga tree, you can smell the pleasant aroma from late evening to early morning.
The Naga Linga tree is a flowering plant, and its flowers are relatively more prominent. They can grow up to 6 cm. The flowers are brightly coloured and their petals have shades of pink, red, and yellow.
The stamen takes the central place in the flower creating a hood-like structure with petals. Though the plant doesn't produce nectar, the brightly coloured petals strongly attract bees. As a result, the pollen of the Nagalinga tree is moved from one place to another.
The fruits of the cannon tree are quite interesting. A typical cannonball fruit can contain about 65 seeds. However, in the case of larger fruits, the number of seeds can go as high as 550. A tree can produce up to 150 fruits. The fruits take a long time to mature. Generally, it takes a year for the Naga Linga fruit to mature fully. However, in some places, it may take up to 18 months.
Unlike the Naga Lingam flower, the fruits are not considered sacred. The fruits are edible and are used to feed cattle and other livestock.
The Naga Linga tree has various medicinal as well as ornamental properties. In some parts of the world, the fruit pulp of cannonball trees is used to ease headaches. Moreover, leaf juice is used to promote hair growth and stop hair fall.
The locals have found that the Nagalinga tree can also treat stomach aches. They claim that the plant is also helpful in curing toothache and malaria. Scientists have found that the tree also has antimicrobial properties.
How to grow and protect a Naga Linga Tree
With several benefits, it's wise to plant this tree in your garden. The tree can be grown by planting its seeds. However, the seeds have a short lifespan and viability. So, this method isn't much popular.
The other method for growing this tree is through vegetative propagation. In this method, you will need to cut a young stem from the plant and grow it in a container. You can also plant it directly in the soil. This method is quite popular and recommended by experts.
If you plan to grow a Nagalinga tree in your home, remember that they grow well in the right-sized container. As they are fast-growing trees, the selection of containers is vital.
The ideal container should be at least 18 cm in diameter. Only one sapling should be planted in a container. The suitable growing medium for the Shiva Linga tree is a mixture of soil, perlite, and sand.
The Naga Linga tree performs very well in long-day-like conditions. The plant grows rapidly if the container is kept at a place where it gets maximum sunlight. If you plan to keep the plant indoors, make sure to put it in a place where it can get ample sunlight.
You would also require to ensure that the plant is watered well. Over or under-watering may kill the Naga Linga plant. Water it with caution if you have planted it indoors because the plant performs well in slightly wet conditions, not in a waterlogged medium.
Buy Flowering Plants
The Naga Linga tree has various uses and religious importance. Planting it in your house compound or indoors ensures a pleasant ambience. As long as you are providing the plant with the right environment, the plant will grow happily and add aesthetic value to your home and garden. You can buy the Shiva Linga tree from here.