Friday, July 24, 2009

#22. Some Beautiful Trees for Central India with GWALIOR in mind

I have made some notes for a write-up titled ‘Beautiful Trees for Central India with Gwalior in Mind’. Comments are welcome. Main reference books are by Pradeep Krishan, Bose and Chaudhury and Shakti Sinha.
1. Maulsari…….Mimusops elengi
Tolerates shade. Also known as Bakul. A favourite of Gurudev Ravindranath Thakur.
Likes warm and moist climate, but found suitable for hot and dry climes as well
Propagation by SEEDS

2. Ficus benghalensis var. Krishnae….Krishna peepal
Curiosity value
Medium sized tree
3. Ficus elastica…Indian rubber tree
Native to NE India where it can grow as high as a 16 storey building.
Original source of natural rubber, later replaced by Para rubber from Brazil
30% of pottedd plants in US are Indian rubber plant.

4. Pilkhan or Pakad..Ficus virens
Avenue tree, wind breaker

5. Peepal and Bargad ….Ficus religiosa and ficus benghalensis
Oldest peepal at Anuradhapur (Srilanka) where a branch of Mahabodhivriksha of Gaya was taken by Ashok’s son in 288 BC. So now this tree is more than 2000 years old.
As the tree in Gaya died, a branch from the Anuradhapur tree was planted which prospered.
Peepal and bargad considered female and male, and it is said that plating the two together brings good luck to you.

6. Kanju or Chilbil…Holoptela integriiifolia
Large tree.
Prop.: SEEDS

7. *Nyctanthus arbor-tristis….Parijat/harsingar
Four trees in Hindu mythology have been variously described as KALPAVRIKSHA, namely Parijat, Mandar (Erythrina), ficus benghalensis, kadamba.
Paarijat and Mandar came out of sea when it was churned by the gods and demons. Parijat was taken by Krishna for his wife Satyabhama. Then Rukmini insisted on having a similar tree and so Mandar was also taken by Krishna.

8. Indian Coral Tree…..Erythrina variegata
A delicate tree. Very few specimen can be seen in Gwalior. Mohite’s garden had a few, but have been destroyed by insects, possibly termites. One of the trees known as Kalpavriksha.

9. *Lagerstroemia speciosa
Small tree
*Lagerstroemia thorrelli
Smaller bushy tree
*L. indica …crepe myrtle

10.Neolamarckia cadamba…Kadamba
Native of humid climate of NE, but found adapted to Gwalior climate. Some good specimen at the Tourism Institute.

11.*Mitragyna parviflora….Kaim
Probably the real kadamba tree associated with Krishna as it is native of Mathura-Vrindavan region.

12.Acacia auriculiformis, Earpod wattle….vilayati keekar
Quick growing, small tree. Has bottlebrush like spikes of yellow flowers.
13.Syzigium nervosum….Rai Jamun
Ripens in Ashadh (June). Lush green large tree.

Bush, only pink variety thrives in Gwalior. Not white or red. Likes semi-shade

15.Silkworm mulberry …Monis alba
A darling of birds because of its fruit.

Small dep purple to black berries which are liked by birds.

17.Khirni…Manilkara hexandra
A tall beautiful tree. Edible fruit. Rootstock used for grafting of chikoo.

18.Mahua….Madhuca longifolia var. latifolia
Fast growing, evergreen.
‘Arguably the most valuable of Indian trees’. Flower edible, tribals in the interir eat it as well as distill a liquor from it. Also used by modern distilleries.

19.Maharukh….Ailanthus excelsa
Grows even in towns on its own. Nice tall tree.

20.Artocarpus heterophyllus…..Kathal
An evergreen tree.
My first posting as SDO was at Jashpurnagar where some ex-ruler had found the virtues of this tree, and got planted Kathal all over the state The result was that wherever there was marriage at district or divisional headquarters at an officer's place, large quantity of big kathals were sent by the subordinates, effecting a big saving for the senior.

21.Baheda…Terminalia bellirica
A local tree. Grows easily.

22.Kanak champa…Pterospermum acerifolium
Beautiful tree. Large atractive leaves. Flowers fragrant, keep their fragrance long after drying.

23.Weeping bottlebrush…callistemon citrinus
Crimson bottlebrush…C. pollandi
Smaller tree 3-4 metres.
24.*Bauhinia variegate
Purple flowers fill the trees

**Bauhinia X Blakeana
The best of bauhinias.Large, deep purple flowers. Developed from an isolated tree found in Hong Kong.
Only vegetative propagation possible. CUTTINGS

Bauhinia pupurea

*Bauhinia variegate ‘Candida’

Bauhinia acuminata
Bush. White flowers.
Pruning once a year is good for the plant.

B. galpinii
Creeper, orange coloured flowers. Likes milder climate.

B. tomentosa
Bush. Yellow flowers.
Almost all the varieties of Bauhinias suit Gwalior climate to the T. A pleasant flower which has not been used much.

25.Butea monosperma, Flame of the Forest….Palash
Frost hardy, drought resistant, TOLERANT TO SALINITY.

26. **Tecoma goudichaudi/castanifolia…flowers in bunches
Tecoma stans…flowers singly
Small tree or large bush. Easily grown. Grows fast. Flowers the next year, almost through the year. Ideal for Gwalior.
Needs yearly pruning to keep the tree in shape.

27. Adansonia digitata, Baobab tree.
Huge tree, lives for maybe 3000 years. Unusually thick trunk at the bottom. Tree reputedly carries 500 liters of water in the trunk. A desert tree brought from Africa by the Portuguese. No specimen in Gwalior, but Indore Residency compound has at least 10 of them which should be more than 100 years old.

27.**Floss Silk Tree. Chorisia speciosa.
Small tree. Introduced in Delhi on a large scale in 1950s. One of the most beautiful flowering tree which is covered with flowers at a time when there are hardly any garden flowers blooming (October). A white variety is also there. Initially the tree looks like Kapok and is spiny as well which however falls off later. Must try in Gwalior. Single specimen planted doing well.

28. Semal, Bombax ceiba
Large tree. Flowers profusely. Much liked by birds.

29.Wild almond, Sterculia foetida.
Large tree. Pretty copper-cloured leaves before fall.

Bush, with nice red or pink fluffy flowers. Long and curved billed nectar-eating birds
(sunbird) like the flowers.

31.**Tabebuia argentea (yellow)

T. avallandae (Dark pink)

One of the most beautiful flowering trees. Suited for Gwalior climate. Small tree. Specimen found on the road divider from Padav to Phoolbagh, courtesy an industrialist. A couple of good trees in the Tourism Institute.

32.**Polyalthia longifolia ….Ashok
Stately shady tree.

**P. longifolia ‘Pendula’, Mast tree
Gets deshaped if the mast to allowed to grow unchecked. It is prudent to cut them at the top after they attain a certain height.

**P. augustifolia…Same as P. longifolia, but a smaller tree.

Ashok tree is ideally suited for Gwalior climate. Hundreds of trees can be found in the town, most being Mast trees. Some old specimen can be found in the old High Court building. They must be more than a century old. Some mast trees in the Samadhi of Hardaul in Orchha could easily be 200 years or more.
**Should not be confused with Seeta Ashok which is associated with Sita who spent her captivity under Saraca asoca. This is another beautiful tree which likes semi shade, and has bunches of beautiful orange-red flowers.

33.**Cassia fistula….Amaltas
One of the most beautiful native flowering tree. The tree however is nothing to look at, and has to be given support to save it from being twisted. It is drought tolerant, and CATTLE REPELLENT, and therefore can be tried in open areas as well. Strongly recommended for Gwalor.
SEEDS. In the wild the long fruit does not open on its own, and jackals, bears, pigs and monkeys help in propagation by eating its flesh and passing the seeds in the excreta. In the nurseries the pod is to be broken manually, and the seed soaked in water overnight.
34.Cassia javanica
Flowers in bunches. Large tree. Tree has to be protected from hot dry winds. Better to plant it with trees which can shield it. Dislikes transplantation. Therefore sow in situ or in polythene bags.

*Cassia nodosa
Suitable for saline tract
SEEDS should be rubbed against a rough surface to help germination.
One good specimen at ‘Saket’ on Gandhi Road.

35.Spathodea campanulata
Suitable for tropical and sub-tropical climate.

36. Alstonia scholaris…Saptaparni
Likes moist and warm climate, but has been found growing well in Gwalior. An avenue of Saptaparni can be seen in the Tourism Insitute (IITTM). Has a tendency to send shoots from the bottom of the trunk which should be removed to keep the tree in shape. A beautiful shady tree.
37. Plumeria
One of the best flowering trees for Gwalior. Needs less water and grows very well in inferior soils. Also known as Frangipani or Temple Champa. Plumeria rubra can be bicolour, triclour or deep pink. Forma acutifolia is white/cream with yellow centre, whereas lutea is is like acutifolia but with more gold at the base of the petals. From a distance this variety looks all yellow-gold. In all these varieties the five petals are overlapping, whereas in P. obtusa (white frangipani) the petals are narrow and not overlapping. The flowers are white with yellow throat. Also whereas the leaves of P. rubra are pointed, that of white frangipani are rounded at the tip.
Some foreign nurseries advertise scores of colours. Even the net gives hundreds of colours. See the link:
This tree is eminently suited for Gwalior climate. Gwalior has any number of specimen. Mohite’s garden has white variety. Pawar has a light pink variety, whereas Bapuna has the deep pink variety.
Propagation by CUTTINGS.
**Highly recommended


Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

about the story about Krishna taking Parijat and Mandar trees, Nalini Bhat from Germany has this version to tell:
"What i know, is that Krishna planted the tree in such a way that the tree was in Satyabhamas garden but the flowers dropped in Rukminis garden.
And this reminds me of the Mirabell-Tree in my neighbours garden, the tree is in their garden, the fruits fall in my garden. According to german law i am allowed to take whatever is on the ground, but i may not pluck the fruits from the tree."
Nice story worth mentioning. I will add it in the write-up later.

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

Please see a very interesting write-up by Tabish and photograph by Prashant Awale on 'Amazing Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya'. The live roots are of Ficus elastica. Link is:

Me said...

Other Mitragyna trees which are known as Mitragyna Speciosa can be planted from their seeds as well.