The Mahwhaw Tree of Guzerat
Artist: Forbes, James
Plate sixty-four from the second volume of James Forbes' "Oriental Memoirs". Forbes(1749-1819) was for the most part of his working-life in Gujarat, the Collector of Bharuch and Dhaboi. But he was also in charge of revenues at Bhaderpoor for some time. At the latter place, he found an abundance of Mahuwa(Bassia butyracea)trees. The Mahuwa he observed was 'a valuable tree, indigenous to many parts of India, and particularly flourishing in my districts; it attains the size of an English oak, grows in almost any soil, and from the beauty of the foliage makes a conspicuous appearance in the landscape; its timber is very desirable, from being proof against the destructive teeth of the termites, those formidable ants, it is said are unable to eat it. The leaves are large and shining; and the flowers, which grow in full bunches, of so rich a nature, that when gathered and dried in the sun, they resemble Malaga raisins in flavour and appearance.'