Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br., Mem. Wern. Nat. Hist. Soc. 1: 76 76 1810. (Syn: Echites scholaris L.; Pala scholaris (L.) Roberty);
alstonia, Australian quinine bark tree, bitter-bark tree, blackboard tree, chatiyan wood, devil’s tree, dita bark tree, shaitan, white cheesewood tree • Bengali: “ছাতিম” — “Chatim” • Hindi: चितवन chitvan, शैतान का झाड़ shaitan ka jhar • Kannada: doddapala, janthaila • Malayalam: daivappala • Marathi: सप्तपर्ण saptaparna, satvin • Sanskrit: सप्तपर्ण saptaparna • Tamil:  ஏழிலை paalai, ezilai paalai, mukumpaalai, palegaruda, முகும்பலை mukumpalai • Telugu: ఏడాకులయరటిచెట్టు edakulayaraticettu, సప్తవర్ణము saptavarnamu;
In olden days the wood of this tree was used to make slates for children, hence scholaris;
The dita bark of the tree is used in Indian medecine for treating asthma and heart ailments, fever and diarrhoea. During the Diwali festival, the bitter bark is consumed before eating sweets to neutralize the excessive intake of sugar;
The bark is supposed to be very useful for blood purification especially in case of diabetes or Jaundice in Jharkhand as well as in Ayurveda;
Its pollen is very very allergenic… proving to be causing seasonal fevers, sinusitis and eye irritation…;

Alstonia scholaris in fruitAlstonia scholaris in fruit,
Patuli, Kolkata, India
8 January 2011
The fruits do look quite similar to those of *Wrightia tinctoria* (Khirni)

– We noted Some Bark scraping in Konkan region. Can anybody tell for which purpose this bark is used???

– I read somewhere that the bark is used in the treatment of diabetes.

– according to info. in the book ‘Trees of Mumbai’ pg 51 …” In olden days the wood of this tree was used  to make slates for children, hence scholaris.” The book further adds “The dita bark of the  tree is used in Indian medecine for treating asthma and heart ailments, fever and  diarrhoea. During the Diwali festival, the bitter bark is consumed before eating sweets to neutralize the excessive intake of sugar.”

– Useful Link

“Type II Diabetes and Alstonia scholaris”…

A little trivia: Large branches of the big Alstonia scholaris tree behind the house I temporarily stay in Delhi was cut down ostensibly to allow the sun rays on the flower bed in the small park. Apparently, the local garden
community had this tree trimmed by the NDMC authorities. But it wouldn’t surprise me if branches of trees are cut to allow the sun in winter to warm up courtyards that are otherwise completely blotted from the the sun. I have seen it happen. Before it was trimmed the flowers were within touching distance from the 2nd floor terrace. There are several trees such as Semul (Bombax malabaricum) and Siris (Albizia lebbek) growing in small, old colony roads whose branches have spread widely blocking sunlight in homes. They could be trimmed especially, if old people want to sit out and soak in the sun during Delhi’s winters…and this winter its really cold.

– One of the local names of Alstonia scholaris is CHHATIM or CHATNI CHAAL.
The bark is supposed to be very useful for blood purification especially in case of diabetes or Jaundice in Jharkhand as well as in Ayurveda. Thats why … must have seen bark scrapping.

The state tree of Bengal

Its called SCHOLARIS because, the old times plates of leaves were exclusively used to give away degrees to the students.

– This is still a practice in Viswa Bharati university shantiniketan, west bengal India

– The compound leaf was used as a plate and the degree which was usually on the paper or parchment sheet or may be leather, or whatever, is kept on the plate.

– All the soureces of information I have state that it gets its specific name of *scholaris* from the fact that in olden days the the wood was used for making school slates. Nowhere is the name attributed to have originated from the fact of giving degrees on the leaves.  Besides the source I have stated earlier ‘Medecinal plants’ by S.K. Jain and ‘The book of Indian Trees’ by K. C. Sahni too mention the same reason of use of slates.
   I feel that because of the name Alstonia scholaris and the 4 to 7  whorled shape of leaves, it could have led to the practise of using it to hand over the degrees on, as followed at Shantiniketan mentioned by Tanay. Attaching recent pictures from MNP, Mumbai.

-I dont know, may be the leaves are insect repellent. There are could be other reasons. There are some funny stories about many such plants. For example, why Julius Ceaser had this Laurel Leaf crown though he
was a king!!! People say that he was bald and so some herbal medicine guy told him to wear Laurel Leaf Crown to get back the hairs. When people came to know about this, they started making fun of him. Embarrassed by this, he made a rule that Laurel Leaf crown will be worn only by the royal king and even started giving this as prize to the athletes even in during Olympics.

– i started trying to figure out the logic in the number of leaves on each compound leaf.  6 on some twigs, repeated, if there are  7 then this is also repeated on the next level, others have 9. then i googled and found alstonia scholaris used in a scientific paper to model a virtual tree. after applying the procedure the author says “the difference between the model constructed from our system and the target plant remains. this is because of the complexity in nature which [sic] the random could not easily interpreted and calculated by humans.” (p.6).  i still have not found anything about the maths underlying the number of leaves on compound leaves as the tree grows. so i offer this link as a small contribution to the stories instead. my conclusion: it must be this gap between what would be mathematically perfect and what is, that makes nature so perfect.  🙂…

– This is true that we cant interpret science with our theories. They are just hypothesis and assumptions. The number of leaflets in compound leaves vary a lot but that too depend on the species. In some plants the numbers are always fixed, like Butea (3), Marsilea (4), Regnellidium (2); but in some like members of Araliaceae, Alstonia, Bombax etc. Its not a big deal. Personally I feel, it may be due to availability of nutrient during that particular times. Its just like having twin or quadruplet or triplet baby. You can never predict it in advance!!!

– The Blackboards, which were used in the classes in my time, weremadefrom Scholar’s tree. Hence the name Alstonia scholaris. .., choping the braches of trees is ban in Delhi. If somebody does it without forest department’s writtenpermision can be sued, and the penalty is one year jail or Rs. 80,000=00 fine or both.

– Here there is information re graduation certficates at Shantiniketan [ref.”Sen”trees of Mumbai page 123]
‘A leaf of the Saptparni adorning the certificates of graduates of the Shantiniketan University ,became a practce ever since  Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister attended a convocation as the chief guest,which was as usual held under the shade of this very tree. So impressed was she tby the umbrella of  shade that she recommanded that the pracise be adopted, so as to imprint the contribution of the tree in the minds of the students along with the scripted name of the university.”


Devil’s tree-MN030211: Seen this tree with flower in a garden.

Place : Dombivli
Date  :  31.12.10

–  Alstonia scholaris  commonly known as Devil’s tree in Bengali we call it Chatim the state tree of Bengal

– It is also known as Slate tree for the wood was being used for slates.  Also known as scholar’s tree.


A for Alstonia and Asthma-Sunday Reading: Forwarding information on different aspects of Alstonia published in local newspaper in Hindi.…
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– I dont understand. Saptaparni is a Sanskrit name and upto now I have known it to be a native tree. Give a dog bad name and hang it! Cassia Siamea is not native and it has allregic characteristic. But how about Putranjiva? Some time back there was a rumour of its allergenic chaaracteristic and so many old trees in the Lutyen’s Delhi were cut.  Is this some sort of conspiracy to dub native trees as allergenic. Okay, how about mustard and marigold? Both have allergic character. Should we stop cultivating mustard and and marigold. Allergy from pollen of any number of trees and bushes is a known fact and it is in other countries also (Hayfever!). Should we grow only ipomea, eucalyptus and lantana??

– please read the complete article. I have explained on all aspects both positive and negative. I can quote the reference of information if you wish.


Valmiki mentions about SHINSHAPA tree in his Ramayan. When Hanuman could locate Sita in Ashok vatika, he was sitting on the branch of a SHINSHAPA tree ( as per Valmiki in his Ramayan). The scientific name of this tree is Dalbergia sissoo. Attaching an image of this tree.

where can one read about the trees (flora) of Ramayana… is there an essay or book that esp deals with flora of Ramayana?  I guess the photos you have loaded is not of Dalbergia sisso pls check for any error

Looks like saptaparni, Scholar tree. D. sissoo has small roundish leaves.

Thank you for the reference, I registered at the site and they allowed me to download the file…. there is a map of India and Ceylon… in it where Ram had moved thru… its a very diverse set of ecosystem…difficult to recreate in ONE BOTANICAL GARDEN…. if Govt India or some such body decides to take up the project and makes at least about 7 gardens spread over India  then may be the different ecosystems can be accommodated…. it can be done… all we need are bureaucrats with dreaming quality…   a dream created the AGRI-Hort Garden and the Botanical garden in Kolkata, the Kew and the NYBG… superb examples of far- sightedness of bureaucrats… take care, and thanks… I am going to study the list carefully.

This is undoubtedly Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br. of Apocynaceae family. Any way a better picture of a branch with mature leaves would be helpful for clarification. It cant be Dalbergia sisso as this species has compound leaves. In this picture 7 leaves are from a single node.

Yes, it is SatparniAlstonia scholaris.


Attaching the 67th image of the series.Here a Lime butterfly is on the flowers of Alstonia scholaris ( DEVIL’S TREE/SCHOLAR’S TREE/CHATIM ). If you are interested in Butterflies, you may wait under blooming Alstonia scholaris, I have recorded 24 species of butterflies on this tree. My score on Lime butterfly is 19 species of flowers.


efloraindia: 181111 BRS176: Sharing the images of Alstonia scholaris from Coimbatore.

Location: PSGRK College, Peelamedu, Coimbatore.
Date: 18.11.2011
Habitat: Garden
Habit: Tree

I saw Stavin flowering too in Jaipur, a few days back.

it is also flowering in Haryana now days

I was wondering what do you mean by Stavin. You meant Saatvin सातवीण
It is flowering in Pune too. Less flowers though this year.

Attaching Satvin/ Dita tree pics frm Jaipur. Dated -06.11.11.

Its flowering in Kolkata too, but only some trees …
and yes not as prolifically as in 2005/06 winter…

ছাতিম chhatim, the Indian Devil Tree, is the State Tree of West Bengal.


Attaching an image in which there are two Redbase Butterflies on the flowers of Alstonia scholaris.


alstonia scholaris: does anybody have experience with fragrance of alstonia scholaris flower’s? those who want to experience visit all public garden’s in pune city. lot of flowering with fresh fragrance.

Yes presently flowering profusely at many places.
I wonder if there are two seasons of flowering?
One set of trees in Pune…(the larger set) flowers in this season whereas I have seen one tree on FC Road which flowers only in Spring summer(?)

Yes… and how… all alstonia are flowering at the same time and in last 10 years thousands have been planted by Kolkata municipal body on roadsides, at about 5 rupees or less for each sapling I was told by gardener’s supply !!!!!
there are so many flowers that the trees look whitish-green instead of green…
its pollen is very very allergenic…
proving to be causing seasonal fevers, sinusitis and eye irritation…

many municipalities plant them because its very very cheap…
once planted it can not be removed… and millions of seeds will float off in about six months and a lesser degree of flowering will ensue again… now is the highest degree of flowering…
even if one digs out the base after cutting the tree the roots sprout and many more trunks come out
Rabindranth thakur used to sit under one…and meditate …its called CHHATIM in Bengali… there are many essays and songs about it… becuase of his association…  and hence a little nostalgia plays in the planting fervor at least in Kolkata…
now I know why its called the devil’s tree…nothing to do with ghosts or devils, its its devilish pollen…. its the highly allergenic pollen…i wish there were a systematic country wide epidemiology of sinusitis and allergy cases and its flowering… and then some more sofisticated testing of population for specific antibody…
I wish … I wish…


At this time of the year Alstonia scolaris blooms at this place. You can’t miss the smell of this flower even from a distance at night. Attacing an image of a Peacock Pansy butterfly on this flower. As the tree is on the road side, the leaves are dusted.

yes … nice pic
but lots of people have tremndous allergy to the pollen, causes fever sinusitis and even some eye irritation ,,,, Robi thakur notwithstanding and our nostalgia about chhatim tola


Hooghly Today : Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br.:
Though flowering season of CHHATIM (ছাতিম) = Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br. is over now yet one or two trees are still flowering. Just a little while ago i come to know that it was CHHATIN (ছাতিন) in older days [ Ref. 1) An English Index to the Plants of India, p119, 2) Hortus Suburbanus Calcuttensis, p526 & 3) Bengal Plants, ii. 672] !!!


efloraofindia:”For Id 19012013MR1’’ tree at Pune:

Requesting identification of this tree of medium height along Shastri Nagar Road at Pune. bunches of green slender strips were seen hanging all over the tree. There were many such trees along the road

This is Satvin [Alstonia scholaris], the Devil’s Tree / Scholar’s tree].

I agree with … It is Alstonia scholaris.

This year Alstonia scholaris had an unusually large flowering on most of the trees in Pune. Now all of them produced a large number of pods hanging from most of them like these.


Attaching two images of SAPTAPARNA as mentioned by Valmiki in his Ramayan. The scientific name of this tree is Alstonia scholaris. (Scholaris, as in good old days writing board for students used to be made out of the wood of this tree ).

Beautiful and fragrant!!!!!!! Now days any nematode is attacking on this plant and destroying this in many parts of Haryana

Wow great to see 10 leaves in a whorl. They are 8 most of the times but rarely 7 though it is called as Saptaparni …….. Apocyanaceae

Here is the fruit


Alstonia scholaris (family : Apocynaceae) Hooghly, WB : Attachments (4).  13 posts by 6 authors.

Attaching images of CHATIM GACH (GACH = tree) that i recorded in 2009. I don’t know why it has been given an English name like the ‘Indian Devil Tree’.
This tree has a connection with the Great Tagore family. Maharshi Debendranath Tagore ( set up an ASHRAM under one of this tree and the place later became the world famous Visva-Bharati University (for more please see –
Species : Alstonia scholaris (family : Apocynaceae)
Type : plantation
Date : flowering tree: 05-Oct-2009, leaves & fruits : 26-Feb-2009, 08-Feb-2012
Place : Kamarkundu Railway Station (Hooghly District), West Bengal
ID help :

Nice Catch … This tree is in Danger in our area due to attack of some kind of Nematodes almost everywhere…

Thank you Sir. I am attaching a photograph of part of its pod. Did those nematodes produce the nodules on its pods?

The tree has also got the name scholar’s tree, as writing boards were prepared from the wood, earlier.

Thank you … I didn’t know this name and it is also very apt for the Visva-Bharati story.

When it blooms emits sweetest smell in the surroundings.

I never noticed it before. This year i will remain alert during October that i think is its flowering time.

Alstonia pollen are allergic to many. (see attached clipping)
In Traditional Healing many formulations including Pueraria based Formulations are used to manage Alstonia allergy.

Thank you Sir for the alert. Maybe that’s why they named it the devil tree.

… it flowers in Oct. During Sharad Purnima.

I guess the name ghost tree is due to myths that ghosts reside in this tree. There was discussion about this earlier in our group with really gruesome stories.


Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br from Assam : Attachments (4). 2 posts by 2 authors.

Attached images are Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br. 
Date :06.11.2013
Location: Kamrup district, Assam
Family : Apocynaceae
Genus & species : Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br
Habitat: Grows wild
Habit : Tree

Thanks for this posting. I am afraid of it.

State Tree of West Bengal Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br. (Apocynaceae)
Alstonia scholaris (Saptaparni in Bengali) is declared as the State Tree of West Bengal, India.
This is Rabindranath Tagore’s much loved tree and under this tree (in Bengali it is called chhatimtala) prayer services are held on very special days in Santiniketan. Rabindranath, too, like his father before him would sit in meditation here, under the chhatim trees during sunset.
Leaves of the Chhatim (Alstonia scholaris) trees are given to graduating students at the annual convocation in Visva-Bharati (University).
Pictures are taken from Hatibagan, Kolkata during September, 2011.

A handsome tree in North India! Flowers emit a strong aroma periodically.

Yes …, the aroma of this flower is very strong and nice.
It symbolizes the beginning of festive season (Durga Puja) in West Bengal along with Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L.

Flower for Id-ID25102015SH2 : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (1)

Old picture of flower for Id pl.
Location – Deharadun.
Date- 09.10.2009
Habitat –Garden variety

Seems like Alstonia scholaris

Alstonia scholaris (Apocynaceae) I hope.
Please compare with- efi thread

SYMBIOSIS : SPECIAL ( ALSTONIA SCHOLARIS ) : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (3)
I have recorded as many as 31 species of butterfly visiting flowers of Alstonia scholaris. Attacing a collage in which there are 19 species of butterfly visiting the flowers of Alstonia Scholaris (CHATIM). Attaching two images of Alstonia scholaris

It is my pleasure to share few images of Alstonia scholaris (Apocynaceae 

Habit: Tree 

Habitat: Semi-evergreen forests 

Sighting: Chikmagalur, Karnataka, about 1000 msl 

Date: 26-11-2015 and 28-11-2015

Alstonia scholaris Dehisced fruits : 2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2)
I had seen this Alstonia scholaris tree @ Adichunchanagiri hills. All seeds were shed off.


SYMBIOSIS : 856 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1)
Attaching an image of a Red- spot Sawtooth butterfly visiting flowers of Alstonia scholaris.


SYMBIOSIS : 858 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)
Attaching an image of a Common Albatross butterfly visiting flowers of Alstonia scholaris (DEVIL’S TREE/ CHATIM)


Grown up alstonia scholaris not flowring : 5 posts by 3 authors.
We have alstonia scholaris in our compound (Powai, Mumbai)

It has grown up appox 50 fts but it is not flowering (Observed last 2/3 years).
Many other trees smaller than this one are flowering.
What could be the reason?
Any remedial action is required?
Kindly provide information

Thanks, … May I request you to send some images also.

1 image.

Please check whether it is  receiving proper sunlight. The tree needs bright sunlight. The trees grown in shade/ semishade areas may not flower properly during the flowering season. Some times due to lack of potassium in the soil results in non-flowering  of the tree.

Fwd: SYMBIOSIS : 977 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1)
Attaching a collage of Common Crow butterfly visiting flowers of Alstonia scholaris (CHATIM/ CHATIAN/ SAPTAPARNI/ DEVIL’S TREE)


Fwd: SYMBIOSIS : 978 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1)
Attaching a collage of
Common Mime (dissimilis) visiting flowers of Alstonia scholaris. (CHATIM/ SAPTAPARNI/ CHATIAN/ DEVIL’S TREE).

Fwd: SYMBIOSIS : 979 :  1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1)
Attaching a collage of Blank Swift butterfly visiting flowers of Alstonia scholaris (CHATIM/ SAPTAPARNI/ CHATIAN/ DEVIL’s TREE)


Alstonia Scholaris (Saptparni) season in Delhi : 8 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (9)

The winter is approaching and the Saptparni trees in Delhi are in Bloom.
Some photos
Tree : Alstonia Scholaris
Common Name : Saptparni, called सातीवण in Goa.

This location : Delhi
Season : October 2018
Link to Wikipedia. :

Super presentation, …
Here in Kolkata also they are in flowers. And their scent is observed all around, particularly in the evening.

Nice images.
Nepali Names : छतिवन Chhatiwan / छलामैन Chhalaamain / पालिमारा  Paalimaaraa

More Photos now in Full Bloom

Attachments (6)

Flowers in Kolkata in October’2007; at Malabar Hill- Sept’09?; At Alibag & in Pune- Oct’09?; at Aarey colony area- Goregaon – Mumbai- 15-10-09; Trees of Delhi- flowers not synchronised, sometime between mid October &  Dec.  Beautiful Trees & Shrubs of Calcutta- flowers appear mostly from Oct. to Jan. & sometime continue to late March.


Id. of Tree Please : 5 images.

location:Aambyvalley Rd.,Off Lonavala,Pune
Height:more 15 ft. atleast
Other:Never seen it flowering in so many years…surprising.

Isn’t it Alstonia scholaris?

Thanks, …, for the id.

To me also appears close to images at Alstonia scholaris

Yes it does look like A.scholaris but my only doubt was because I never saw it flowering in so many years…but then I read in a thread about same problem with this tree and the answer was either due to poor sunlight or lack of potassium. I now think that could be the reason but otherwise the tree is very healthy.


MS/ID/JAN/2021/5 – ID of the tree – Alstonia scholaris: 3 images.
Photographs of the tree Alstonia scholaris are attached herewith.
Location  : Chennai.


225 ID wild plant Alstonia: 21 images.

Please ID wild plant,
Location: near Reserve Forest, Chathamattom, Ernakulam District, (Kochi) Kerala PIN:686671
Altitude: 1400fsl
Flower date: 15.11.2021, 11.45am
Habitat: wild moisture
Plant habit: tree, erect, branches, woody soft stem no heart-wood, silver bark, latex, long lasting
Height: 09 meters
Leaves: clustered, ovate, oblong, apex, glazing, size:17×6cm or less
Flower: globular racemose, clustered, diameter:20mm, greenish yellow, good fragrance
Fruit: paired lengthy pendulous beans, green into brown, size:25×0.8cm
Camera: mobile Samsung Galaxy A21s

Check Alstonia scholaris

Please post the picture clearly showing the canopy (part of habit) to confirm the ID. Meanwhile, check for A.macrophylla also, as the inflorescence resemble more of A.macrophylla. They are lax not intact in your photo.

From a tree of 09 meter height, in I have been lucky to catch the flowers in a young stem of my height, that bloomed because of woody decay (image #….5323), unfortunately the plant doesn’t bear fruit. And the fruit image from a nearby plant of same kind.  Blooming was over here and now fruiting time, so no more blooming images,

Fruit of Alstonia scholaris is globular while googling,

Check eflora images

Mostly the tree is A.macrophylla

Yes, it is Alstonia scholaris dear …, thank you very much for ID my plant,

It is Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br.
Looks different from images at Alstonia macrophylla Wall. ex G.Don


Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br. :: Waghbil, Thane :: Oct 7, 2007 · JUN23 DV333: 2 images.

Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br.
Waghbil, Thane :: Oct 7, 2007 · 1:38 PM IST :: about 3 m (10 ft) asl
Many thanks to Radha Veach for validating the ID at iNaturalist