Bael is the only member of the monotypic genus Aegle. It is a mid-sized, slender, aromatic, armed, gum-bearing tree growing up to 18 meters tall.
Bael occurs in dry forests on hills and plains of northern, central and southern India, southern Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. It is cultivated throughout India, as well as in Sri Lanka, the northern Malay Peninsula, Java, the Philippines, and Fiji. It has a reputation in India for being able to grow in places that other trees cannot. It copes with a wide range of soil conditions (pH range 5-10), is tolerant of waterlogging and has an unusually wide temperature tolerance (from -7°C to 48°C). It requires a pronounced dry season to give fruit.
This tree is a larval foodplant for the following two Indian Swallowtail butterflies:
- The Lime Butterfly: Papilio demoleus
- The Common Mormon: Papilio polytes
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