EXPOSED ON A LIMB

Earlier Blogs titled LAST STAND and CONICAL CYPRESS  may kindly be read to get a sense of Continuity.

These Majestic Towering Coniferous Trees are Native and Unique to the Western Himalayas.

The Himalayan Cedar ( English), Deodar ( Hindi) , Cedrus deodara ( Scientific Name)  belongs to the Pine family Pinaceae.

Reaching out to the clouds

Reaching OUT

The Deodars  ( Deo meaning that of the Devs or Gods) are revered by Hindus and is repeatedly mentioned in ancient  Hindu scriptures.

Do the branches not show up as  Steps to the Skies Above  or the Abode of Gods.

step up
Step by Step

These Large Globular  Green Cones are  Female Cones and will be the bearers of Winged Seeds when they Mature.

The Pine Like Needle leaves indicate it belongs to the Pine family but the Cones clearly reveal another Genus.

acorns on a limb
Female Cones reflecting Woman Power 

The Male Cones were not spotted by me on the Tree and had left the ladies  unattended.

The Camera catches this young male taking a Power Nap. Am Inspired.

snoozing
zzzzzzzz Snoozing zzzzzzzzz

Am taking it easy too and will complete the post after taking a Power Nap. Till then Enjoy the Splendour of this Ancient Confirerous Tree through pictures.

I did fill in the blanks subsequently  and I hope the young man recovered from his Siesta as well.

ENTANGLED FORESTS

Enchanting Entanglements in a Dense Forest in the Heart Of India.

dried forest
Dense Deciduous Forest

Leafless Branches and Twigs create twists and turns in this Forest in the terrain of the Cursed River Chambal.

entagled
Enchanting Entaglement

Flames of  the Forest add a tinge of colour to a Brown Deciduous Forest.

Dense Forest 1
Spot the Flames of the Forest

The Featured image is of the Gorgeous Flowering tree” Flame of the Forest”  or Palash ( do check a previous blog by the same title to know about this lovely Flowering Tree) .

Let us get Entangled  in this Magical Forest .

GHOST TREE

The River Chambal was cursed by a Lady Born from The Flames of A Fire ( Yagnaseni or Draupadi from the Epic Mahabharatha) . That is only one of the numerous fables and myths that hover over the Enchanting Terrain through which the river traverses.

A sharp eye will enable you to discern THE GHOST TREE in the picture below .

terrain of ghost tree
Eerie Habitat

Bhutia ( Marathi), The Ghost Tree ( English),Gum Karaya, Sterculia urens ( Scientific name) is a deciduous Tree native to India. 

All the leaves have been shed by The Indian Gum Tree revealing the pale White Bark which lends it the name Bhutia or GHOST TREE.

on the rocks
The Ghost Tree on the Rocks

This Ghostly looking tree is however extremely Useful not only to the Langurs that can be seen in the picture below, but also to Humans as they are the source of the much sought after “Gum Karaya”.

langurs on ghost tree
Even Ghost Trees are Home to Langurs

“Gum Karaya” is the natural alternative to Viagra and has a formidable reputation as an Aphrodisiac.

Be Enchanted and do read earlier posts titled RIVER CURSED YET ENCHANTING and OVER THE CLIFF.

WHITE AS SNOW

Have written extensively on The Chambal River Basin, which flows in Central India and is home to many Unique and Interesting Species of Flora and Fauna.

Have shared some pictures and information in previous Posts like “TROPHIES”, “RIVER CURSED YET ENCHANTED“, OVER THE CLIFF, BLUE-EYED CORMORANTS etc. which would have already given you a glimpse of the Terrain and the Inhabitants.

The picture below is  of an Unusual  White Tree on the banks of the Clear Blue Waters of the River Chambal.

Initially I thought White blossoms  had covered the branches of this Lovely Tree.

tree 3
White Tree, Grey Heron

However on a closer look , I realized the Leaves were Coated White.

After some investigations I was informed the tree is not naturally WHITE AS SNOW but covered with the Poop of  Indian Cormorants.( do read BLUE-EYED CORMORANTS to know about these Water Birds) .

I wonder if the solitary Sedate Grey Heron (English), Ardea cinerea ( Scientific name)  is aware that the Tree above is Laden with Poop.

tree 2
Under the Tree

The picture below is a reminder of the Gregarious habits of the Indian Cormorants who flock together in vast Numbers.

comorant tree
Gregarious Indian Cormorants

What is amazing is the fact that though the Indian Cormorants or Indian Shags as they are also called made many Trees their Roost, I spotted only One Tree which was covered in Poop and was WHITE AS SNOW.

FLAME OF THE FOREST

The dry brown landscape of Rajasthan is set Afire by these near Leafless Flowering Trees in the month of March.

The Flame of the Forest ( English) , Palash ( Hindi) , Butea monosperma ( Scientific Name) is native to the Indian SubContinent and finds mention in the ancient scriptures of this awesome country.

flame of the forest
The Bright Blossoms Resemble a Blazing Fire

The deciduous tree of The Flame of the Forest sheds all its leaves during the winter months but they grow back as the Heat of the Summer months touches them.

The flowers, Leaves and the Gum resin it exudes are extensively used in traditional Indian Medicine, Ayurveda.

the tree

A closer look at the Tree also called Bastard Teak

The lovely buds and flowers closely resemble the Indian Coral Tree, posted in an earlier blog titled “JEWEL OF TREES“.

It is said the Attractive Scarlet Blossoms attract mosquitoes but the resins from the tree destroy the larvae before they transform into adults.

The Butea monosperma finds extensive use a a cure for numerous ailments.

It belongs to the family Fabaceae.

buds
Radiant against the Blue Skies

The flowers bloom in clusters and are also used as a source of Herbal Colour used during the festival of Holi, which marks the advent of Summer in Northern India.

The flowers also resemble Flames of Fire and there are Indian folklore which mention how the God of Fire “Agni” was transformed into these blossoms due to a curse.

clump on the trees
Gorgeous Orange Blossoms

To date the Flowers are offered to Lord Shiva in Telangana during MahaShivratri, which coincidentally occurs today ( 7th of March 2016) .

It is Enchanting how Nature is linked with Mythology and Ayurveda ( Indian Medicine)  ensuring an ecological balance.

LEAFLESS POPLARS

The White Solitary Posts are Poplars , a high altitude  tree you will see covering the the entire Landscape of Leh, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India.

There is a huge and exciting controversy brewing on the scientific name and I have honed onto the scientific name Populus parmirica. 

tree and bird
An Enchanting Magpie

As I have only seen and photographed them during the Winters when not a single leaf adorned them, let alone bear a flower or fruit, it is hard to key on the species with precision for an amateur like me.

3 trees
Stretching their arms to touch the Blue Skies

I understand these Ghostly white posts have separate male and female trees and are an intricate part of Ladhakhi life.

Willows and Poplars dominate the winter landscape of Ladhakh.

one willow
A solitary Willow amongst the Tall and Elegant Poplars

The Ladhaki Frass or  Ladakh Poplars or Populus pamirica can be seen only at altitudes above 2000 m.

Leh is at 3800 m and thus home to vast Poplar plantations.

trees and himalayas
The Himalayas form the backdrop to a forest of Poplars

I hope you will help me identify the species in case I have blundered . Am certain the Genus Populus is however correct.

 

PINE TREE

The enchanting Himalayas sing songs of their own through  Flora and Flora unique to them.

Enchanting Forests of Pines, Deodar,  Fir , Oaks and Rhododendrons have painted the Himalayas  Green at Mussoorie,Uttrakhand in Northern India.

himalayan forests
Himalayan Forests of Oak and Pine

The Coniferous Forests of the Queen of Hills  “Mussoorie”  are dominated by The Himalayan Pine, Blue Pine ( English) or Pinus wallichiana ( Scientific Name).

They belong to the family Pinaceae.

The Blue green gracefully drooping needles ( leaves) and the slender Pine Cones are two distinguishing features of these Pine trees Unique and Native to the Himalayan range.

with a himalayan backdrop
Pine tree within a Pine Forest

The Pine Tree can grow upto a  majestic height of 25 m or 82 feet .

Fallen  Pine needles carpet the entire ground   ensuring very few trees  can coexist with the resinous  Pine Tree.

pine tree
Reaching out to the skies

An excellent source of timber used for making furnitue , the Pine Tree grows straight and Tall.

There is another species of  Pine that is native to this region of the Himalayas called Pinus roxburghii and coexists with the Pine tree seen in all these pictures.

It will take the Green Cone nearly two years to transform to the more familiar brown Woody Pine Cone .

green acorn
Green Pine Cone

 

The Himalayan Pine is a  rich source of Turpentine besides having numerous Medicinal Uses as well.

Do visit the area , inhale the aroma of the Himalayan Pines and be spellbound in these Coniferous Evergreen Forests.

AFRICAN FLAME OF THE FOREST

Behold the Glory of Nature and be overcome.

This Gorgeous Tree  Is located on the edge of a Hill in Bhopal, within the sprawling estate of the Noor-us- Sabah Heritage Hotel.

SPATHODEA CAMPANULATA  or THE AFRICAN TULIP TREE

The Tree
                                                                                The Tree

In full bloom the magnificent tulip shaped flowers of this tall and upright tree set the landscape on fire. A combination of the  Origins and the Bright Flame Coloured Flowers have given the tree the alias AFRICAN FLAME OF THE FOREST.

A closer look
                                                                      A closer look

The Tulip Tree is a close relative of the Sausage tree. Both are native to the African Continent.

True to its name the blossoms have set the tree on fire.

Under the tree
                                                                   Splendour under the tree

Do locate such splendid trees in your neighbourhood

IN THE MIDST OF TREES

Life in a forest revolves around trees.

The pictures that follow say so loud and clear.

The Cheetal or Spotted Deer ( Axis Axis) rests on a bed of leaves in the midst of trees.

stag
                                                                                Stag

Listen carefully, the Stag is saying something to the langurs above ? Watch how the sunlight filters through the trees.

Talking to me?
                                                          Quiet please, Siesta time

Our ancestors the Langurs ( Semnopithecus dussumieri) or Hanuman Langurs    in their tree house. 

langurs
                                                                    our ancestors

This Hanuman  Langur  hides  amongst the leaves of a tree  and keeps a careful lookout for predators. Their alarm calls  indicate a Tiger is close at hand.

hidden
                                                                     hidden

A grove of Jamun (Syzygium cumini )   trees provides a perfect playground for these peacocks

( Pavo cristatus) .

hide and seek
                                                                    hide and seek

New friendships in the thick of a forest.

forest
                                                                  enchanting  forest

A dove ( can you spot it ? )  keeps a Woolly Necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)  company.

stork
                                                                               A woolly necked stork

The descendants of the apes try to make a “home,  of a tree” .

the descendants
                                                                                   the descendants

VULTURES and A MIRACLE FRUIT

History of Food leads me to a MIRACLE FRUIT which is  indigenous to the Western Ghats  of INDIA. There are records of the fruit being consumed as far back as 6000 BC.

It is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world and can weigh upto 45 kgs.

The “Kathal”  or Jack fruit literally grows all over a  very large tree which can grow upto 80 feet ( 26 m) . The large trees made  perfect perches for Vultures ( Gyps Indicus)  which once ruled the skies of Delhi

I still recall my grandmother telling the Gardner to scare away the Vultures as their poop  smeared  the Jackfruits. ( this was on a now infamous road in the heart of Lutyens Delhi)

New Delhi has changed dramatically in the last  4 decades , the Vultures and Kathal Trees  have disappeared from Delhi bearing the brunt of the change.

Kathal ( Hindi): Jack Fruit (English) : Artocarpus heterophyllus (Scientific or botanical name)

Jack Fruit
Jack Fruit

The Jack Fruit packs a punch of Potassium, antioxidants and Beta Carotene. You can check more details on Google/ Wikipedia etc. I am simply fueling your interest in FOOD.

The featured image is that of the seeds  of Kathal  which i have seen for the first time in a vegetable market.( not that i go to vegetable markets daily)  My hopes for a fright future were rekindled.

The “seeds of the Kathal”  are particularly dear to the Jain community as it replaces Taro and potatoes ( do read EXOTIC ANCIENT ROOTS ) in their diet.

Any guesses?

Labelled as the Miracle Fruit it can replace many staple diets in a world where Land for agricultural use is rapidly shrinking .