The cork tree is a very famous tree in India and is cultivated in gardens and pathways in most parts of India. The scientific name of this tree is ‘Millingtonia hortensis’. The name `Millingtonia ‘is an 18th century English botanist, Thomas Millington and Hortensis means” grown in gardens “. The tree is named ‘Akas Nim’ or ‘Nim Chameli’ or ‘Beti Nim’ in Hindi. The Bengali people know it by the name of ‘Akas Nim’ or ‘Mini-Jasmine’. In Tamil, it is ‘Karku’ and ‘Cat Malli’ and in Telugu, it is ‘Kavaki’. English people call it ‘Cork Tree’ or ‘Tree Jasmine’.
The cork tree is long and straight, with some branches being compared to others. For having a great ornamental value rather than any shade-giving properties, the tree is one of the most popular trees in India. It is a good and fast growing tree, but being a delicate wood, it is easily damaged by hurricanes. Under appropriate conditions, it can grow up to 24 meters. The tree grows wild in most parts of India and is cultivated extensively in suitable climates. The ash-colored bark is crushed and wrinkled and removing many fractured corks is an easy matter. This can be used as an average substitute for true cork.
From the month of April to the rainy season and again in the months of November and December, the tree produces a large amount of silvery white and captivating fragrant flowers. The open clusters are straight and with arched blossoms, they obliterate every branch. The small flowers are a few vine-shaped calyxes and long thin tubes of very thin green color. They are divided into four bendable, white petals and also several prominent yellow-colored athered stamens. A petal of flowers is long and broken. There are many flowers which are expertly pink in color. The flower peel has a long white bud. As they fall down soon after opening, they spread to the ground below with countless small stars.
Between the months of January and March, the leaves of the tree are discarded and in April and May, they renew. The long leaves have two or three broadly spread pinna. Each pinna has five or seven smooth oval-shaped leaflets that are pointed and slightly rounded. Each of the leaflets is 2.5 to 7.5 hrs in length. On some occasions, the lower pinna re-divides and places one pair on a three-leakage pinna and one or two pair of leaflets and a leaf tip. The fruit of the cork tree is very long and narrow. It is sharp at both ends and is filled with thin flat seeds. These trees do not grow very easily in India.