By Our Correspondent Dhangadhi, Apr. 13: With the onset of spring, the season to collect the flowers of Butter Tree, locally called Mahuwa, has begun. People of Kailali have started flocking to the forests to collect the flowers which fall from the tree in the months of March and April. These flowers are then used to make fragrant liquor. This is also the time to harvest wheat, so senior citizens, children and others who are not involved in field work use their time to gather Mahuwa. Bikram Chaudhary of Bhajani Municipality–3 said, “This is the time of the year when our forests come to life. People from all walks of life enter the woods to collect as many Mahuwa flowers as they can.”
Butter Tree can be used to make medicines as well, according to conservationist Bijay Raj Shrestha. However, the locals only use it to make alcohol, he complained. “If we study the plant and utilise its properties adequately, this can provide a path to economic prosperity.”
Butter Tree is also considered an energy-giving plant. People put the tree’s flowers in milk or hot water and drink the solution to boost immunity. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this belief. According to Ganga Datta Bhatta, head of the Plant Research Centre, Kailali, Butter Tree is a non-woody tree specially used by the Tharu community. Stating that the tree could be used for various purposes, Bhatta stressed the need to protect it.