THE JACK-FRUIT TREE                                             11
of the final branches. Fruit is a long folliele 30—50 cm. long, 3—4 mm. think, pendulous in pairs, produced in such large numbers as to change the general aspect of the tree. The tree is elegant because of the very regular branching, of the masses of flowers that envelope the outer 'shell' of the tree and of the fruits. To me the tree loaded with fruits suggests the head of a young woman with all her tresses hanging down loose.
The wood is too soft for use in permanent structures; it has been used for packing boxes, black-boards, etc. The bark is known in commerce as Dita Bark and is used in medicine as a bitter and an astringent in the treatment of fevers, dysentery, etc. In Western India the tree is considered the abode of evil spirits ; in my own experience I have found some tribals on .the Western Ghats unwilling to sit or even to pass under the shade of this tree ; falling asleep under Alstonia is a sure token of death by the action of the devils guarding the tree. The tree, however, is a very elegant one when allowed to grow undi­sturbed ; fear on the part of the hill tribes of the evil guardians of the tree helps to protect the same from damage or total destruction.
The jack tree is a very common one in our streets and gardens ; it has been known in parts of India from the beginning of historical times ; the Greek historian Theophrastus writing about 300 B.C. says : "There is also another tree which is very large and has wonderfully sweet and large fruit: it is used for food by the sages of India..."
In local Marathi it is known under the name of Phanas ; in English it is the Jack or the Jack-fruit Tree ; in our scientific literature it goes#