Innumerable plants grow on the earth. The very diversity is mind boggling. We did not even know the names of plants growing around us. In fact, most of us never bother to even look around. These become just the backdrop of landscape we dwell in. I don’t think that even God, the creator, has given them names. It is us mortals, who in order to make our life easier document the things. We give nomenclature to everything living in the nature. We have classified them into different kingdoms for our convenience and harmony in the views of different individuals.
I always has the curiosity to know the names of plants around us, the plants which give us hope, clean the atmosphere and provide oxygen for us humans to breathe, give beauty to the surroundings. I admit I don’t know the names of most of them.
In this effort, while searching and searching for days, I chanced upon a website about the flowering trees of India. This site is treasure trove of information about the plants and trees. Thanks to this website, I have been identify some of the plants and trees growing in my colony. Here is a start.
It is also called century plant. It is native of Mexico. In India it has different names like Kamal Cactus, Gwarpatha, Kantala. Its scientific name is agave Americana.
Also known as Mother in law’s tongue plant. Its botanical name is Sansevieria trifasciata. It belongs to Agavaceae (agave family). It originally belongs to Africa and is best suited for potting. It is sturdy plant and requires minimal care.
Cashew Nut Tree
Cashew nut is a nut every Indian is aware of. It is amongst the famous dry fruits like almonds and other nuts. Following are two pictures of this tree. The nut is used in many sweets as well as in culinary preparations. The tree is known by many names like Kaju in Hindi, Kaju in Marathi. In Goa where it grows in abundance, a wine is made by fermenting the fruit. The wine is called Feni.
It must have been introduced here by Portuguese who brought it from Brazil. They called it Caju.
This tree stands in the ground behind hospital in our colony. It looks very majestic. Those beaded threads hanging in a huge bunch like the beard of an saint.
Common names around India are Fishtail Palm, Jaggery Palm, Toddy Palm, Wine Palm. Its botanical name is Caryota urens. And it belongs to Palm family.
When these palms grow to reach a height of about 20 feet, they start producing flowers at the top of the trunk with subsequent flowers produced lower and lower on the trunk. When the lowest flower blooms, the tree dies. Flowers are long plait like bunches hanging down.
These are the trees which bear very beautiful flowers. These flowers hang on the tree branches like garlands. The flowers has a very short life: only one night. By the morning, the branches which were laden with flowers begin to shed the flowers which plop like rain on the surface. Whole ground beneath the trees become a carpet of red color, which nature seems to have rolled out to welcome the passersby.
Common names are Barringtonia, Freshwater Mangrove, Indian Oak, Indian Putat.
This plant is growing in the lawn in front of our office lawn. Its botanical name is Ravenala madagascariensis and belongs Strelitziaceae (Bird of Paradise) family.
The tree is native of Madagascar. It is not a palm in true sense. Part it looks like Banana and part as a palm.
A lot of rain water collects in the tree frond brackets. Travelers are said to be make use of this water in a forest. That is the reason it got its name.
The tree has many names in Indian languages as in Hindi it is called Kadamb. Its botanical name is Neolamarckia cadamba.
Kadam was the favourite tree of Krishna and is held in great esteem in Hindu mythology. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this tree