Cobra Saffron

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A handsome Indian evergreen tree often planted as an ornamental for its fragrant white flowers that yield a perfume; source of very heavy hardwood used for railroad ties. In old time, the very hard timber was used for making lances. It is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree up to 13 m tall, often buttressed at the base with a trunk up to 90 cm in diameter. It has simple, narrow, oblong, dark green leaves 7-15 cm long, with a whitish underside; the emerging young leaves are red to yellowish pink and drooping. The flowers are 4-7.5 cm diameter, with four white petals and a centre of numerous yellow stamens. The flowers have many uses - they are used to make an incense and also used to stuff pillows in some countries. It is the National tree of Sri Lanka.

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