CHINESE LANTERNS

These  gorgeous chandeliers of the desert are the flowers of the Sickle Bush ( English).

Called Khairi in Hindi and carrying a tongue twister of a scientific name  Dichrostachys cinerea they are gradually replacing the invasive Vilayti keekar ( Prosposis Juliflora)  in Rao Jodha Park in Jodhpur.

The sterile flowers change from pink  ( see featured image) to white  ( see pic below) as the flower ages.

In white
                                                              Pink turns  to  White

The Sickle bush is a short stunted tree or bush belonging to the Touch- me-not  (Mimosaceae)  family .

Fertile flowers make up the  yellow head of these Chinese Lanterns, whereas the pink rear are the sterile flowers. The collective presence of two kinds of flowers gives it the generic name Dichrostachys.

the beautiful kumat flower
                                                      The Beautiful  flowers

The short stunted tree/bush  with small leaves is perfectly adapted to the warm, dry and  rocky landscape of the Rao Jodha Park surrounding  the Mehrangarh Fort .

The tree is native to the Indian sub continent.

Kumat tree
                                                                             Khairi Tree

The name Sickle Bush is derived from the fruit which is curved much like a sickle.

The fruits are happily eaten by herbivores like cattle.

The fruit
                                                                         The Fruit

The Sickle Bush or Viradru in Sanskrit has been used in the traditional Indian school of medicine Ayurveda to cure a vast range of ailments from toothaches  to syphilis.

The roots are a remedy for stings , bites and diseases of the skin like eczema.

This beautiful flowing bush is Natures pharmacy in the heart of the desert..

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Published by

mukul chand

51 year old entrepreneur who has traveled extensively around the world for work and pleasure , is based in New Delhi, India. A passionate traveler born with a love for flora and fauna, is an active naturalist and amateur photographer. Here he shares his unique insight into Incredible India revealing its mysterious and exotic treasures. Writing from his heart he shares his experiences as he crisscrosses this vast and amazing land.

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