12 April 2018

Golden Leaves (ThursdayTreeLove)

My tree for today stands out green in the dry deciduous jungle .. its quite inconspicuous otherwise and easy to miss unless one looks carefully.. Its the Apta tree .. In Maharashtra, family members exchange Apta leaves on day of Vijayadashami or Dusshera. Going by the botanical name of Bauhinia racemosa, it belongs to the Caesalpinia family (Gulmohor family).  I have seen it growing on the Pune hills but not in the city itself. 




The Apta tree possibly grows  just upto 5m tall and its characteristic feature is the bilobed leaf shaped like the hoofs of a cow.  

                                    

When folded the leaflets cover each other perfectly as you can see in the video below. Infact, its this very feature that has given the genus Bauhina - to honor the twin botanist brothers Johann Bauhin and Casper Bauhin. 


Flowering of the Bauhinia racemosa is in the months of February - May and here is an image of its flowers.

I am not sure of the exact origins of the practise of exchanging Apta leaves. These days, people have to buy the leaves which means rampant defoliation of all trees with such bilobed leaves like Kanchan. Those who cannot distinguish between the different Bauhinia species end up buying the other leaves. End result, the trees suffer terribly. 

A 'cousin' of this species, the Kachnar is quite common as a roadside tree and in gardens. I am sure you will have noticed its flamboyant pink blossoms. Next time, notice its bilobed leaves too and remember the 'golden' leaves of Apta!

I am joining Parul's #ThursdayTreeLove37. Do head over to see some amazing trees from around the world. 

8 comments:

G Angela David said...

I have seen this type of leaf, i recall in my old office some of my colleagues coming from their villages after the festival would wish me with this leaf, stating that its a sign of friendship... thanks for enlightening me...

Alana said...

Not only rhinoceros horns and elephant trunks but tree leaves? Why do we humans do that to the other living members of our world? For me, living in the Northeastern United States, the leaves of this tree are so beautiful and unusual.

Anagha Yatin said...

There used to be an Apta tree at my mother's house. But never knew so many things about it except for the "golden" status it acquired on Vijaya Dashami and the mythological story associated with it and Pandavas!
Thanks for sharing the info Archana.

Archana said...

Happy to share Angela! Your support means a lot! :-)

Archana said...

@Alana - unusual and beautiful- you have captured the essence of the tree! Thanks :-)

Archana said...

Thank you Anagha for reading my posts! Happy to share :-)

Parul said...

I am impressed how much you know about trees, Archana. Thank you for sharing this. I think I have seen such trees but never knew the name.
Appreciate you joining!

Archana said...

Happy to participate Parul! Thank you so much :-)