Scientifically Rudraksha plant, Elaeocarpus, is a large genius of broad-leaved evergreen trees. The trees are almost 50ft to 200ft in height growing in the North Indian River Plain of the Himalayas to South-East Asia, Nepal and Indonesia. All trees bear white flowers with fringed petals that develop into drupaceous fruit resembling olive. The main trunk of the trees are cylindrical with the section being circular. Bark is grayish white and rough in texture with small vertical lenticels and narrow horizontal furrows. The branches of Rudraksha spread in all directions in such a way that when growing in natural habitat, the crown takes the shape of a pyramid. Rudraksha is basically grown in subtropical climatic region with temperature ranges from 25 to 30 degree centigrade.
Once the seeds are planted, they grow into trees (15 to 16 years) that start giving fruits similar to ‘Blueberries’. In its original form, a Rudraksha is a fruit with a blue husk covering the seed (bead). The blue color is not caused by pigmentation but evolves as the trees grow, bearing the fruits in around 3-4 years. The fruit is kept in water for a number of days and then the Rudraksha is taken out after peeling off the pulp. Rudraksha beads contain 50.031 % carbon, 0.95% nitrogen, 17.897% hydrogen and 30.53% oxygen. The tree has nearly 36 sister species, including Rudraksha. A single Rudraksha tree bears Rudraksha beads of different mukhis (faces) at the same time but higher Mukhis or faces are very rare to find and most of Rudraksha beads are Five Mukhi. The beads come in seasonal pattern every year around mid-August to mid-October. As Rudraksha, is a plant, it is best worn without contact with metal; thus on a cord or thong rather than a chain.
Rudraksha trees (scientific name – Elaeocarpus Ganitrus, English name – Utrasum Bead Tree, Indonesian name – Ganitri or Jenitri Tree) are mainly found in Nepal, South East Asia in Java (Indonesia), Malaysia, Thailand and also in India, Burma and other countries. Amongst all, Rudraksha beads from trees found at the foothill of Himalayas above sea-level 2000m in Nepal are regarded as the best. A Rudraksha tree requires 10-12 years to grow fully and bear Rudraksha fruits, a fully grown Rudraksha tree has large leaves and can grow up to a height of 50 to 200 feets. Cold climate as well as the soil quality plays an important part in the growth of a Rudraksha tree. Rudraksha tree first blooms white flowers from which round shape Rudraksha fruits are obtained. The fruit of Rudraksh tree is not very tasty to eat and has a sour taste. The green fruits fall on their own after ripening when it becomes blue colored berry like fruit. When the upper coating is dried and peeled one will get the hard Rudraksha. One may plant a small Rudraksha tree at their home garden.