Last year, this time, I’d done a morning walk at Santa Cruz and through to Bandra with a bunch of people. Some others were called upon to educate us about the trees etc. in the area. Rotary Club and the Bombay Natural History Society had put this thing together. It was funny because there were about forty people and the organisers had to have permission from the cops etc. And a few cops and their rickety van led the procession. I guess they got bored after about fifteen minutes. They left!
I’d taken down plenty of notes, drawn diagrams etc. in my notepad. On the way back home, I forgot the thing in the rickshaw. Damn.
I lost all my notes.
This morning, Walk the Mumbai Trees in association with Unltd India put together one such walk in Bandra. I scribbled some notes on the back of the paper they’d given us. One had a map with each tree marked and numbered. And the other had info. about each of these trees etc. So before I forget all that I learnt in class this morning, I must post it here. I never did this in school or during university! Take down notes i.e.
Okay, so here we go. I didn’t carry a camera though. The idea is to learn a little about trees and do some photos. I don’t have the photo in mind so far.
- The seeds of the Karanj or Pongamia pinnata have oil. It is an indigenous source of bio diesel. It regenerates around by dropping seeds etc.
- What is otherwise thought of as the Ashoka is actually the Mast Tree, Asupalav or Polyalthia longifolia. The Ashoka ain’t so slender. It flowers too!
- Naturals Ice Cream make Jamun flavoured ice cream in the summer months. This stuff is good for those with diabetes. In fact this tree, Syzygium cumini had medicinal properties. It helps combat diabetes. Railway sleepers are made out of the wood. Poor kids! Not enough Jamun.
- The tree outside my balcony is actually the Fishtail Palm or Caryota urens. They extract toddy from the small fruit! I must make some.
- The Pink Trumpet Tree or Tabebuia rosea flowers pink trumpet like flowers.
- The Subabul or Leucaena leucocephala has slender leaves. The thing sucks all the water around thus depriving other trees of water. It is used to make paper.
- Frangipani or Plumeria alba was bare at the top. It had a couple of flowers though. White with yellow at the end of each petal.
- The colouring on a Bougainvillea or Bougainvillea aren’t flowers. They are the bract. The flowers are in the midst of them. Small.
- Chakka sounds like Jack in Roman! And the Jackfruit or Artocarpus heterophyllus is used to make classical Indian musical instruments. Again, poor kids! Not enough Jackfruit.
- Stuff from the Arlu, Tree of Damocles or Oroxylum Indicum is an iungredient in Chyavanprash.
- The Christmas tree like New Caledonia Pine or Araucaria columnaris dates back to the time of dinosours.
- Kera means coconut and Alum, place. Hence Kerala, the land of coconuts!
- Next time you’re stuck in a traffic jam during the monsoons because of a fallen tree, take a close look at it. I just might be the Gulmohur or Delonix regia. It has a shallow root system. If ever I am in such a situation, I’ll go, “It has got to be a Delonix regia!”
- Tyres etc. aren’t made from the Indian Rubber Tree or Ficus elastica. Someone suggested that rubber flip flops might!
- I have always wondered about the Casuarina Tree or Casuarina equisetifolia. In fact, I have spent hours on end just staring at them along the coast of Goa on my trips there. I even have photos! It prevents soil erosion. It protected a few villages during the tsunami. Or lessened the impact.
- So one dude in the old days decided to go explore or something. His chic said to him: on the way there, sleep under a turmeric tree each night. And on the way back, sleep under a Neem tree. The acidic turmeric tree can make a person sick and all. And that way, he’d not want to head too far from home. Sleeping under a Neem tree on each of the nights whilst returning’ll heal him. And that way he’ll be fine by the time he gets home and ready for some action!
- The Travellers Palm or Ravenala madagascariensis is my new favourite tree. I don’t know why. I guess because it has the word traveller in it.
- The Chickoo Tree or Manilkara zapota was brought by the Portuguese. They’d made early chewing gum from Chickoo! Hence the name Chiclets and stuff. I haven’t eaten Chiclets in two decades. I don’t eat too many Chickoos either.
- Bay leaves are different. It ain’t Tej Patta, Malabar Leaf or Cinnamomum tamala.