Terminalia elliptica – Crocodile Bark Tree

Other notes

Synonyms: According to Chakrabarty and Sampath Kumar (2017),

  • Terminalia alata Roth
  • Terminalia coriacea (Roxb.) Wight & Arn.
  • Terminalia crenulata Roth
  • Terminalia tomentosa (Roxb. ex DC.) Wight & Arn.


Natural History: A medium-sized tree found in the tropical forests of Indian subcontinent (POWO, 2023). Popularly known as Crocodile Bark tree due to its characteristic bark pattern. It is also known as Saj in Sanskrit, Ain in Marathi and Matti in Kannada. It yields useful timber (Flowers of India, 2023). It looks similar to Arjuna, but can be identified by its broadly winged fruits and stalked foliar glands (Chakrabarty and Sampath Kumar, 2017). Tussar Silk Moth also uses this plant as larval host.



Nitin, R., V. C. Balakrishnan, P. V. Churi, S. Kalesh, S. Prakash, and K. Kunte. 2018. Larval host plants of the butterflies of the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 10:11495–11550. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.3104.10.4.11495-11550.

Chakrabarty, T. and V. Sampath Kumar. Terminalia elliptica (Combretaceae) is not conspecific with T. arjuna. Phytotaxa, 295(3), 297-300. DOI: https://doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.295.3.12.

POWO (2023): Plants of the World Online. Accessed on 02 Jan 2023. URL: https://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/171100-1.

BSI (2023): Botanical Survey of India. Accessed on 02 Jan 2023. URL: https://efloraindia.bsi.gov.in/eFlora/speciesDesc_PCL.action?species_id=24206.

WFO (2023): World Flora Online. Accessed on 02 Jan 2023. URL: http://www.worldfloraonline.org/taxon/wfo-0000408759.

Flowers of India (2023). Accessed on 02 Jan 2023. URL: http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Indian%20Laurel.html.

Page citation

Sarkar, V. and N. Kawthankar. 2024. Terminalia elliptica Willd. – Crocodile Bark Tree. In Kunte, K., S. Sondhi, and P. Roy (Chief Editors). Butterflies of India, v. 4.12. Published by the Indian Foundation for Butterflies. URL: https://www.ifoundbutterflies.org/terminalia-elliptica, accessed 2024/04/19.