Location in BHU campus:Planted in Botanical garden
Botanical name : Acacia catechu Willd. syn Mimosa catechu Roxb
Family : Mimosaceae
Vernacular / local Name : Hindi-Khair,katha; Kannada-Kachu; Sanskrit-Khadira; Tamil-Karungali,kasukatti; Telugu-Nal Sandra.
English names : The Cutch Tree
A moderate sized tree.Bark dark greyish brown, rough, exfoliating in long, narrow rectangular plates. Leaves bipinnate, rachis prickly with one gland between the lowest pair of pinnae and one between the top pair of pinnae, leaflets minute, sessile, stipular spines in pairs. Flowers sessile, yellow. Calyx hairy inside. Corolla 2-3 times longer than calyx. Pods stalked, flat, dark brown, 3-10 seeded.
Flowering and fruiting : August-April
Khadira is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists .In Rgveda Khadira is described as a tree with hard wood. It is also mentioned in Bhagavata Purana and other ancient texts .In Garuda purana it is stated that Lord of Celestials-Suradhipa is worshipped with flowers of vakula,twigs of Madhavi, champaka flowers and twigs of khadira.In Skanda purana khadira flowers are mentioned as a favourite of Lord Vishnu. Khadira is also offered to Lord Karthikeya. As per Vamana purana Khadira took birth from the middle body of Brahma.
Khadira is also described in Jataka tales. When Brahmadutta was the king of Benares, Bodhisattva was born as a woodpecker in the Khadiravana. As he lived in the forest of acacia trees he was called Khadiravaniya.
In some parts of India, inflorescence is of khadira is essential in marriage ceremonies. Khadirawood is used in sacrificial post and fire. The sacrificial ladle called Sruva or Surva is made of Khadira wood .For the constellation Mrigsira (The Orion) ,the sacred tree is Khadira and presiding deity is Chandra. Mars or Mangala is worshipped with khadira flowers.
From the boiled chips of heart wood katha is obtained which is applied as a paste on the betel leaves and chewed. It has digestive and other medicinal properties. It is also used as a tanning material.