11 January 2018

A Tree In A Temple (#ThursdayTreeLove)

The Ram Mandir in Pune's Tulshibag is a heritage site and it was constructed during the peak of the Peshwa rule and it was completed in 1761. The temple has stood the test of time and despite huge changes in its surroundings. 

Beautiful as the temple is, it was the Muchkunda tree growing in the courtyard that caught my eye.. It has a magnificently gnarled trunk (is that possible) and its roots seemed to have surfaced and uprooted some of the surrounding tiles. I have no idea if the Muchkunda is as old as the temple but it has certainly seen many a monsoons...







Muchkunda or Pterospermum acerifolium belongs to the Sterculiaceae family and is also called Kanak Champa in some parts of India. It can be easily recognised by its typical palmate leaves and flowers that are intensely fragrant and look like a peeled banana!  

Notice the leaf shape and the flowers. This image of a Muchkunda located elsewhere
Restoration works at the site have included creating a base of stones around the tree but I am not sure I really like that grey structure. Here are some more images


The newly restored temple and the Muchkunda Tree

Looking up!
Research has revealed that the Pterospermum acerifolium has some mythological importance as well. You can read about it here and here

If you ever get a chance to visit the Tulshibag in Pune, do not forget to admire the magnificent Muchkunda.

I am participating in Parul's #ThursdayTreeLove31. It is a photo feature posted on the second and fourth Thursday of every month. Head over there to see some amazing trees from around the world!

28 December 2017

Mother Tree (#ThursdayTreeLove)

Temple, Crocodile, Ficus

This tree caught my eye for two reasons, the interesting growth on its branch and a profusion of greenery at the base of its trunk.

As I went closer, it was clear that this was a very old Peepal (see the reddish heart shaped young leaves with typical pointy tips). The tree itself seemed to be a mother for the several species growing on or under or around it providing shade, support and nutrition. It doesn't seem to discriminate between them. I am quite sure several animals must have made a residence there as well. 

I wonder how old must the Peepal be? 


Kerala, Ficus, Temple

14 December 2017

Ghostly (ThursdayTreeLove)

This tree was the first thing that caught my eye when I visited South Carolina. I was intrigued by the filament like structures growing on its branches and general ghostly appearance. The season was spring so I was expecting tender shoots or even flowers but this white 'mane' totally stumped me. As usual, I had a short list of common trees I was likely to see but this did not fit any description....


My sister in law informed me that these hanging filaments were Spanish Moss. Google helped with more information. Tillandsia usneoides is its botanical name belonging to the Bromeliaceae family and is found commonly growing on oak trees. Since my post is about trees, I shall not go into details about Tillandsia but you can look it up here

Aha.. that took care of the mystery! What I was seeing was an Oak and what I thought as its leaves was actually another epiphytic plant growing on it. 

Here is a close up where the Oak leaves are visible.



To this day, the Spanish Moss-festooned oak remains one of the most dramatic trees I have seen. 

I am participating in Parul's #ThursdayTreeLove29. Do head over to see some fantastic trees from around the world.