Saptaparna or Dita Bark Tree

Ditta bark tree or Devil’s tree is a common tree that is distributed throughout India, in the sub Himalayan region from the Yamuna eastward ascending to 3000 feet above sea level, West Bengal and South India. This tree is also found in Sri Lanka, Southern China, Malaysia, northern Australia and Solomon Islands.


Description of tree

Large evergreen tree reaching up to height of 17 to 20 m, have bitter milky latex. Bark is greyish brown, rough, lenticellate. 4-7 Leaves in a whorl, coriaceous, elliptic-oblong, pale beneath.  Flowers small, greenish white, spice scented. Fruits follicles, 30 – 60 cm long. Seeds papillose with brownish hair at each end.

Botanical name: Alstonia scholaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianale
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Alstonia
Species: A. scholaris
Synonym: Echites scholaris L. Echites pala Ham., Tabernaemontana alternifolia Burm.

Vernacular Name
Sanskrit: Saptaparna
English: White Cheesewood, Birrba, Milkwood Pine, Milk Wood, Milky Pine, Black Board Tree, Devil’s Tree, Dita Bark
Marathi: Saptaparni
Hindi: Chatium, Chhatin, Satwin, Saitan-Ki-Jad
Gujarati: Satuparni
Assamese: Chhaiten   
Telugu: Edakulaponna
Burmese: Lettok
Filipino: Dita, Dalipoen
Indonesian: Rite, Pulai, Pule
Javanese: Pule
Malay: Pulai, Pulai, Linlin
Trade name: Pulai, Shaitan Wood, Chatiyan Wood, White Cheesewood
Malayalam: Daivapala
Bengali: Satiani, Chattin, Chatium
Tamil: Elalaipalai, Palegaruda, Pala

Useful Parts

Leaf, bark and milky juice.

As Per Ayurveda Properties and Action of Saptaparna

Rasa: Tikta, Kashaya
Guna: Sara, Snigdha
Virya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Anulomana, Dipana, Jwar-har, Kushaghna, Rakta-shodhaka, Tridosh-nashak

Drug and its properties

  • The bark of Alstonia scholaris tree is pale grey in colour. It is known as Ditta bark. Ditta bark is useful in treatment of various diseases such as
    Malarial fever (Brings down fever without causing exhaustion)
  • Skin diseases
  • Chronic diarrhoea and dysentery

Other uses

The wood of this tree is used to manufacture paper, matchsticks, pencils, furniture of inferior quality, packing cases etc. It was also used to prepare wooden slate of children and hence called Scholaris. The latex of this tree is used to prepare chewing gum.

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