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Semal trees (Bombax) UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • Large quantities of semal are cut in south Rajasthan and sold in Udaipur. 

  • The price varies from ₹500 to ₹1,500 per tree, depending on size. 

  • The cutting violates the Rajasthan Forest Act 1953 and the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980. 

  • Once ubiquitous, the crimson semal flower is now a rare sight

  • Bombax is a genus of mainly tropical trees in the mallow family. 

  • They are native to western Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the subtropical regions of East Asia and northern Australia. 

  • It is distinguished from the genus Ceiba, which has whiter flowers.

  • Common names for the genus include silk cotton tree, simal, red cotton tree, kapok, and simply bombax. 

  • Currently four species are recognised, although many plants have been placed in the genus that were later moved

  • The tree fibers are 100% cellulose, able to float, impervious to water, and have a low thermal conductivity. 

  • Called Kapok in Asia, the fibers are mainly used for insulation in sleeping bags and life preservers. 

  • The fibers are also used as stuffing for pillows and mattresses.

  • Apart from the flowers, the silk cotton tree is characterised by its spiked trunk and fluffy seed pods, and is native to India. 

  • “It has multiple purposes and is useful to wild animals, insects, and even to tribal communities,” 

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Semal trees (Bombax) UPSC NOTE
Semal trees (Bombax) UPSC NOTE
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