Portia tree commonly known as the Pacific rosewood, Indian tulip tree, or milo, among other names, is a species of flowering plant belonging to the mallow family, Malvaceae. It is a tree found commonly in villages of Tamil Nadu and on coasts around the world. However, the Portia tree is probably native only to the Old world tropics.
This is a good tree for small gardens or patios. Its name Thespesia means "divinely decreed" and was given by Daniel Solander who saw it in Tahiti as a member of Captain Cook's ship. Indian tulip tree is an evergreen bushy tree. It grows to 40 ft or more with a spread of 10–20 ft. It has heart-shaped leaves and cup-shaped yellow flowers that are produced intermittently throughout the year in warm climates. Each flower has a maroon eye that ages to purple. The flowers are followed by apple-shaped fruit.
Ground up bark is used to treat skin diseases (India), dysentery and haemorrhoids (Mauritius) Leaves are applied to inflamed and swollen joints (South India) When cut, the young fruit secretes a yellow sticky sap used to treat ringworm and other skin diseases (South India) Roots are used as a tonic. There is some modern investigation of the plant's effects on high blood pressure.