Black Ebony Tree
Native to India and Sri Lanka, this attractive tree is known as the Coromandel Ebony, East Indian Ebony or Black Ebony tree in English, and known as the Kendu or Tendu tree in Hindu and Bengali.
Reaching up to 25m tall and around 2m thick when mature, this Diospyros has become best known for its leaves, which are wrapped around tobacco in India to create the "beedi" cigarette, which has become more popular than conventional cigarettes in the region.
Leaves are oblong shaped, attractively dark green, reaching up to 35cm long and leathery. When young, the leaves will appear velvety on both sides to touch, and become smooth when fully grown.
The bark of the tree peels in rectangular scales, once used to create the black keys on pianos for its darker colour. The bark is astringent, and used to prevent malaria and as an antihyperglycemic.
Creamy white flowers are roughly 1.5cm long, resting directly on the branches, and bloom from spring through summer. Dried flowers are reportedly used for urinary, skin and blood diseases. The fruits are edible, around 4cm across and olive green, with yellow flesh. The seeds are also prescribed in India as a cure for various medical conditions ranging from mental disorders to heart palpitations.
Please contact a GP before using in a medicinal context.
Enjoys part to full sun, and moist, loose soils to thrive.
Frost tender to around 10°C, it prefers temperatures between 25-35°C.