Garlic Pear Tree also called 'the sacred garlic pear' or 'temple plant', is a species of flowering tree. A moderate sized deciduous tree found throughout India, especially along the river banks. It is a member of the capers family. The tree is sometimes called the spider tree because the showy flowers bear long, spidery stamens. It is native to much of tropical Asia and several South Pacific islands. It is grown elsewhere for fruit, especially in parts of the African continent.
The garlic pear tree is a perennial that can grow up to 15 m (49 ft). The nectar-filled flowers are attractive to a multitude of insects and birds. A pierid butterfly, Hebomoia glaucippe, is a frequent visitor to this plant.
Bark grey, smooth horizontally wrinkled. Leaves trifoliate. Flowers white, or cream in many flowered terminal corymbs. The bark is grey, and the wood is yellowish-white, turning light-brown when old. The leaves are clustered at the ends of branchlets, with a common petiole 5 to 10 centimeters long, at the summit of which are tree leaflets. The leaflets are ovate-lanceolate or ovate, 7.5 to 12 centimeters long, 4 to 6 centimeters wide, and pointed at the base, with a rather slender point at the tip. The flowers occur in terminal corymbs, are about 5 centimeters in diameter, greenish-yellow, and the stamens are purplish. The petals are ovate or oblong, with the claw half as long as limb. The fruit is ovoid or rounded, and 3 to 5 centimeters in diameters, with hard and rough rind. The seeds are about 10 centimeters in length, numerous, kidney-shaped, and embedded in a yellow pulp.
It is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It has anti-inflammatory, diuretic, lithontriptic, demulcent and tonic properties. Bark yields ceryl alcohol, friedelin, lupeol, betulinic acid and diosgenin. It is useful in disorders of urinary organs, urinary tract infections, pain and burning micturition, renal and vesical calculi. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this tree.