PRISTINE white petals blooming against lushy green leaves, buds still in the process of opening up — the Chandni tree is a vision to wake up to every morning, especially during the current season. They are at their striking best appearance, and it breaks our heart when morning walkers pluck the flowers and huddle them quietly in their little baskets or clutch them in their hands. It’s also a tad rude to stop them as these are temple flowers, and are used in prayers, primarily in Tamil Nadu. It is called the Nandiyavattai in Tamil and Moon Beam and Carnation of India in general.
Mostly found in residential areas, within the compounds of Chandigarh’s green homes, sometimes shooting from the ground, and many a times blooming merrily in a pot, Tabernaemontana divaricata is an evergreen shrub native to India and cultivated across South East Asia.
It’s the flowers and foliage that grabs the attention, and because the stem releases a milky latext when snapped, it is also called the Milk Flower.
Called the pinwheel flower, crape jasmine or East India rosebay, the Chandni is a favourite, especially in Bengal and Tamil Nadu. With a height that hardly stretches from six feet to ten feet, Chandni is perfect for small spaces and smaller avenues. It also provides shade.
Another benefit of the tree is that the flowers bloom sporadically almost the entire year, and if you walk out now, you will spot them once again in full bloom. Apart from its pretty status, Chandni has a spot created in Ayurveda medicine too — for dental caries, for scabies,as cough medicine and for eye ailments (like burning sensation).
It’s a plant that requires full to partial sunlight, any soil, moist environments, but not waterlogged roots as it will then breed pests.
Make sure not to suffocate the base of the trees with your floor tiles or cemented pavement. It will not allow water to seep through, thereby causing grave damage to the tree’s growth. So, always remember to leave at least two to three feet of space around any tree in order to let it shoot up happily.