25 September 2022

Cat's Claw (ThursdayTreeLove)

This post is not on a Thursday but , dear readers, do excuse the lapse on my part!! 

Last weekend, I went on a Tree Walk after a long break..  the pandemic had put brakes on many activities and this was one of them. It was wonderful to reconnect with other tree lovers and meet everyone. 

We visited the SP College which is a very old and prestigious educational institute in Pune. Established in 1916, but naturally it has several old and unique species. It is a great place for tree spotting. 

These are photos outside the main building. 

I would like to draw your attention to the wonderful creeper that is covering the arches of the main entrance and also the Palm growing alongside. It is called Waghnakhi or Cat's Claw. Botanically it goes by the name of Dolichandra unguis-catii of the Bignoniaceae family. It is an introduced species in Pune and originally is from South America. Having said that, it is found at many places in our city and looks spectacular when in full bloom. 

The plant draws its common name from the claw like tendril that grows between the leaflets . Cat's Claw has compound leaves that consist of two (usually oval) leaflets.  The creeper uses these claw like structures to grab on to surfaces and grow on them.
If you look closely, the claw like tendril is visible

Can you spot the claw like tendril

Its yellow flowers are tube like and have five lobes. When in full bloom, this is a spectacular sight as the plant resembles a yellow floral waterfall - as the plant usually grows almost as tall as the surface/wall it is growing on.. the Palm tree as in this case. 
As always happens, I cannot locate the photo of a Cat's Claw in full bloom .. you will have to trust my word for how wonderful it looks! :-) :-) 

Have you seen this wonderful creeper? 

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove bloghop. Do head over to see some wonderful trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

26 August 2022

Important (ThursdayTreeLove)

I have previously written about the Moha or Mahua or Madhuca longifolia of the Sapotaceae family. It is a beautiful indigenous species that is a very important forest tree. 

The Moha is a deciduous species. This is a tree on our Vetal Tekdi in Pune.

The flowers, bark, leaves, fruit of the tree are all extremely useful and have huge medicinal properties. There is a new found interest in rural foods and foraging which has revived interest in the Mahua flowers and fruit. Several products like chutneys, energy bars etc are being made to introduce us, city folk, to this great tree. Food historians and Chefs are taking an interest in the Moha. 

Dry flowers on sale in a village market From the book Jungle Trees of Central India by Pradip Krishen

In his book Aple Vruksha, Prof SD Mahajan says that the garland used in Swayamvar used to be made of Moha flowers! This Moha tree is a Kalpvrukshya of the Adivasis he adds.  

Flowering in Feb/March . This image is of a tree in the city.

Moha flowers are edible and dried ones are eaten like raisins or can be added to salads or made into Puran Poli. This year, I managed to source sun dried flowers from the forest and tasted them for the first time. They were sweet of course but had a wonderful earthy caramelly flavour which is quite incomparable. 

Dry flowers

Here is a (long read) article from Scroll.in about the Mahua. It includes a couple of folk songs about the Mahua and describes how the Moha tree is a lifeline and backbone of sustenance of those living in the jungle even in adverse situations like a famine. This is a tree of huge economic importance. 

This is a scholarly article about the medicinal uses of this great tree. 

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, each green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”

- Martin Luther King.

Have you seen the Moha? 

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see trees from around the world. Better still, join in.

11 August 2022

Tree Course (ThursdayTreeLove)

 One of the wonderful things of accompanying my husband when he goes Golfing is that I get to see, enjoy and (sometimes) identify the trees growing there. 

Today, I have trees from a Golf Course here in Pune. Besides being a great course to play on, it has 'row' of huge Banyan trees (Ficus benghalensis of the Moraceae family). One of these has fallen and continues to grow and flourish. Besides being a convinient spot to escape the hot sun, the Ficus is home to several insects, birds and small animals especially when its in fruit. Thats the time one can see a large variety of birds feasting on the tree. 

Here are the wonderful Banyans.

Seen from a distance

                                                                                 In a row


Down but not out

Delights for birds

Ficus figs

Here are more glorious trees from the same Golf Course.

WoodApple or Limonia acidissima from  Rutaceae family

The Bahava or Casssia fistula getting set for its annual golden display

Fruits of the Pithecellobium dulce or Madras Thorn. For some reason, its also called Jungli Jalebi! 

One crosses this quaint bridge 

I hope you enjoyed this Tree Course with me.

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop.
Do head over to see some fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in. 

24 June 2022

Cousins (ThursdayTreeLove)

I had a different tree in mind for todays post but I just read Parul's TTL 132 post and decided to share some plants from my home balcony garden. 

To be more specific, three plants that are so called 'cousins'. 

They belong to the same Genus of Malpighia but the specific epithet is different. Hence they are different species. I am growing them to be Bonsai and they do grow as trees in Nature. 

They all belong to the family Malpighiaceae and you can see the distinct flower similarity. The frilly flowers are very pretty but not fragrant. The three plants I am sharing all have simple opposite leaves. 

Here is my Cherry or Malpighia emarginata. The leaf stalks are short, margin are entire and the leaf tip maybe rounded or notched. This is an exotic species but seems to like the environment in my house. It is in fruit right now. 

Cherry flower

In fruit. This is an old image. I have repotted the tree to a different angle now.

Here is the Hawthorn or Mapighia coccigera. It has spiny leaves which makes it difficult to handle or hold the branches or trunks. My plant is very young and will take a while to become a proper bonsai. Come November, it flowers in my home but has not yet borne fruits.

Spiny Leaves

Here is what we call Frooti. There is a lot of debate about its correct botanical name and it is definitely from Malpighia genus. Most likely Malpighia glabra. Its branches tend to droop unlike the other two above. Leaves have a wavy margin and pointy tip. This plant flowers profusely once it rains and also bears fruit in August/September. This fruit is much smaller than the Cherries on my tree. 

Frooti flowers and buds

Fruits of the Frooti

I hope you enjoyed meeting these 'Cousins' in my balcony garden ---- with a teeny bit of botany thrown in!

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see some fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

10 June 2022

Live And Let Live ( ThursdayTreeLove)

Trees are eyecatchers wherever they grow. This one was growing by the footpath and caught my attention as I was guiding my husband to reverse the car on to the road. It looked like a twin trunk but one of those had some interesting roots growing on it. 

You can see them here.

Closer inspection showed there was a Peepal (Ficus religiosa ) that was growing on the original tree an its roots had grown to 'embrace' the 'parent' trunk - if that is a word I can use.

The parent tree was a Neem (Azadirachta indica) and both species were happily flourishing. 

Usually, a Ficus can completely take over the parent tree and even cause it to die. As of now, both are doing well. I hope it continues. 

A wonderful example of Live and Let Live . Do you agree?

 In case you are wondering, the parking attendant marshalled our vehicle outside as I was busy photographing the tree. 🤦🏼

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

26 May 2022

Monsoon Fruit (ThursdayTreeLove)

As the rains begin, and mangoes go off the shelves, its time to enjoy other fruits. Jamun or Jambhul is one that immediately comes to mind. Its a common tree in Pune and it flowers and fruits profusely here. In the monsoon, the raindrops carry the fruit down to the ground with them. The streets are lined purple as the fruit is squashed underfoot or beneath vehicle tyres. 

Jambhul or Jamun goes by the botanical name Syzyium cumini and belongs to the Myrtaceae family. It finds a place on my TTL post, simply because the tree has just finished flowering and I wanted to share these unique flowers with everyone.  

Jamun is an evergreen tree and its flowers are hidden in the shiny smooth leaves. The leaves are aromatic when crushed which is typical of the Myrtaceae family.

 The tree blooms in April-May and the green fruit ripens to a deep purple by June-July. It is common in public gardens, home gardens and even by the roadside in my city. 

The fruits are delicate, crush easily and expert tree climbers come around to harvest them from the trees. The fruit has a typical sharp taste and stains the mouth once eaten. The pulp can also stain clothes if one is clumsy when eating! 

Jamun also called Indian Blackberry or Black Plum

Jamuns are typically sold on hand carts in Pune, the sellers walk around the city calling out to folks to come out and buy these juicy delights. 

I must add, that personally I don't like the Jamun but those who do enjoy it are its dedicated fans!! 

Have you seen the Jamun tree? Do you enjoy its fruit?

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove bloghop. Do head over to see some wonderful trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

13 May 2022

Mayflower (ThursdayTreeLove)

 May has been unusually hot this year in Pune with no signs of summer showers. Yet the trees seem to be loving the heat. 

Especially the Delonix regia of the Caesalpiniaceae family. Better known as the Gulmohor or the Mayflower. 

Presently the tree is in an leafless stage and it is fully covered with flowers. The tree blazes red or orange-red and surprisingly this colour is actually soothing even in the brilliant daylight. 

The tree beckons from a distance. The full post is here