The effect of Spring season is different on different species of trees. Some are in great hurry and begin to change their habits at the earliest. Some are very patient and wait on and begin to sprout the beautiful transparent light colored leaves when the leaves of the early starters have already become dull and dark green.
Banyan trees are different. I saw them shed copious quantities of the dry leaves daily with the help of strong breeze. When they became almost skeletons, new copper colored leaves come out all over the tree. The trees look to be made of copper.
There are other trees which do not bring out leaves at all but flowers. Very beautiful golden color bunches hang from the skeleton of branches. The flowers can be seen against the azure skies as backdrop. Another category brings forth both leaves as well as flowers.
What do these trees ask from us? Except a little care when they are small and tender, not to be tinkered with unnecessarily. They give us everything without asking.
First of all, all the carbon dioxide which animals generate daily through there metabolism and other means of comfort like factories, electric appliances etc, is taken over by these trees and plants. They eat it and convert it into glucose and higher carbohydrates and release oxygen.
These are the things which animals survive on. Thus we see that animals and plants are dependent on one another. So if we release carbon dioxide which exceeds what is required by plants then we have carbon dioxide that causes problems like breathing discomfort and acts as a trap for heat which is generated on the Earth and causes heating. To obviate this we have to have more plants.
Today I took some more photos. Please look closely.
They are not cultivated by the people like so many plants which decorate the homes, offices and other public places. They grow by themselves on the edges of the roads and other places wherever they get a chance. They are weeded out of the fields by the farmers to clear the land for useful crops. They are very sturdy and can survive the adverse conditions.
They are like the poor children who have no access to health care amenities and sanitation facilities. Some of them who survive all the diseases become very tough and become immune to every ailment.
Almost every one ignore their existence and treat them as an undesired growth. But even then they possess certain charm which a sensitive mind cannot ignore. They may have flowers of various hues and diminutive sizes. The flowers may exude fragrances.
As they say that a plant is considered a weed until its properties are not fully known. They may have medicinal properties.
Below are the pictures of some such plants growing in our area.
How often do we leisurely watch the nature around us? General answer will be not often. Do we sit out in the evening and watch the sun going down, its glow becoming golden, and shadows lengthening and blinking through the chinks in the trees? Do we watch the groups of birds flying towards their homes after spending their day in a far off place where the food is available to forage?
Why, in the first place, they don’t make their resting places near the food. May be the supply is not available at one place throughout the year and their resting places are at optimum distance from the foraging places. Why do they always fly in the groups? Is not their pressure or competition for food? Is the father of Evolution theory listening?
After reeling under the sweltering heat for many days, if there is rain, it is like a fresh breath of life. The parched land is drenched with water pushing out the air filled with earth’s aromas into the atmosphere and filling our nostrils with ecstasy. The accompanying wind rushes into the branches which sway from side to side at the top such as in the mighty silver oak trees.
One wonders how the topmost leaves are receiving their requirement of water and nutrients. In optimistic hope of supply from the soil, additionally they must be conserving the water by reducing their stomata counts, As they are in the top, they have the benefit of plenty of sunlight. I also wonder if the leaves at the top are in any sort of communication with those at the lower branches.
Rain patters on the tins of roofs. Water begins to flow over the soil surface seeking places which are at lower level to become pooled there. The dust on the leaves which was choking the plants breath is washed up and translucency returns. Sometimes after the rain, sun comes out and everything shines resplendently. The weather becomes bearable.
Though golden blooms on Amaltas (cassia fistula) trees have begun to fade, they are still hanging there. The flowers are loosing their hue steadily and once where only flowers were hanging all over the trees, thick green foliage has begun to appear on the trees. Perhaps, they are feeling too much heat and are unable to withstand it and are withering away. I have pictures of them when they were in full glory. Below is the one.
So, you can see the beauty of the nature, expressed in the golden flowers of Amaltas tree. But alas! now it is almost gone. They are presently in the decline and destruction. “From dust unto dust”.
What if they are now waning? Another tree is now in full bloom. It is called “Gulmohar” in India. Its scientific name is Royal poinciana The flowers are bold red and it seems that there is fire of red colour raging. It’s flowers are in complete contrast to the Amaltas of tree flowers. They are complementing the torrid heat of the season. Here are some pictures which I took only today. These trees are locating in our colony. They are very majestic and deep green with flowers dominating them these days.
Enjoy this color of the nature also. We should not wait and watch because by the time you will be waiting, this will pass to dust like everything else. The cycle of death and life goes on eternally. They are like two serpents which have caught hold the other by the tail end like the carbons in benzene dreamed once upon by Kekule.
Plants are very smart, efficient and unforgiving in the energy management. Unlike the animals, who cannot regrow their limbs, plants see to it that inefficient leaves are cast off and replaced by new efficient one’s so that the food making machine continue to run smoothly. The leaves make the food by combining carbon dioxide and water in the presence of chlorophyll which shepherds the energy from sun and store it in the plant. Animals make use of this energy by eating the plant parts. This pigment imparts green color to the leaves and masks the faint colors of other chemicals like carotenoids.
As soon as, the plant know that the a given leaf is underperforming, it gradually withdraws the supply of chlorophyll to it and also reclaims whatever it can of the other components. Gradually the color of leaf begins to become yellowish and it looses it strength and fall off the branch. Older leaves are constantly replenished and plant continues to make its food.
When the winter comes, the Sun is hardly visible because sky is mostly overcast. So the plants plan to shut down the food making factories. Plant leaves have chlorophyll which is green. There are Xanthophylls which are yellow pigments, and carotenoids which give leaves an orange color. As the plants withdraw the chlorophyll from the leaves and like polar bears go into a state of hibernation. Due to deficiency of overpowering chlorophyll, leaves acquire beautiful brown, reddish and yellowish hues as the other pigments now dominate. Trees look even more beautiful due to this as the leaves acquire mixtures of colors due to the varying proportions of yellow and orange pigments. As the winter recedes, Sun comes out, the food making is resumed.
Though Spring season is far off, I wrote these lines based on my experience of the past. After the rains, there would be unsettled weather tending towards cooling.
Finally, the Winter shall set in. This shall be real winter which I shall experience after a long stay in the moderate weather of Mumbai. When the winter shall thaw, there will be the riot of colors all around. Flowers shall bloom. Butterflies, honeybees and wasps shall dance around the flowers. This will be the Spring.
Lo & Behold, the spring is here again. With riot of colors everywhere. Flowers are dancing in the wind, Teasing the Butterflies, bees & wasps, Nature is smiling after the biting cold. Birds are singing in the trees, I can hear their song But cant figure them out, in the dense translucent foliage When When my heart shall have the spring. Or will it be the biting cold for ever.
Amaltas is a tree which blooms during the onset of summer. It is called Cassia Fistula in the botanical language. The trees hardly bear any leaves when the plant flowers. From the skeletons of the branches hang the beautiful bunches of golden colored flowers. Before becoming the full fledged flowers, the buds are like “Ghungroos” of gold.
Normally maximum flowers are seen in the spring season when the winter is slowly receding giving way to the most pleasant season of spring which transits to the hot weather. In fact with each passing day, the heat is building up and vegetation begins to crumble. Flowers begin to wither because they are very delicate. But still there are certain trees which bloom in the heat. They seem to enjoy the heat and bear devil may care attitude to the Sun. In this process, they give us the moments to enjoy the nature’s glory.
The tree is the national flower of Thailand; its yellow flowers symbolize Thai Royalty. The golden shower tree is the state flower of Kerala state in India where the flowers are of ritual importance in the Vishu festival. The tree has made it to the 20 rupees stamp. It is also used in medicine.
Flower have great power over the human minds. Due to this they are used on all occasions from happiness to grief. In the marriages and on the dead bodies. They are offered in the worshiping places. All countries have one national flower. Flowers are the means for reproduction which is considered as the most pious activity. Flowers blossom in different seasons.
There are eight to ten trees in our location in Panvel Mumbai and they are in full bloom as you can see them bursting forth with full glory.
Yes, bamboo species called Melocanna Baccifera blossoms copiously approximately every 48 years. Blossoming of flowers is heralded as spring and is the nature’s way to be happy and show the joys to the world. On the other hand, flowering of bamboo is the signal of an impending calamity in the North East states of India. This variety of bamboo grows densely in Mizoram, Manipur and adjoining Burma. Bamboo is a natural resource. It is used extensively in the construction activities. It helps in the conservation of soil with its strong roots and also beautifies the landscape of the area. Bamboo is one of the natural resources contributing to these states.
So, why the flowering of bamboo considered as ill omen?
When the bamboo flowers, entire jungle is filled with flowers. Copious quantities of seeds are formed. The tree dies. It takes many years for the new bamboo trees to grow. Since the area experiences heavy rains, with the soil having become nude, there is heavy erosion of fertile upper crust of soil.
The floor of jungle is now full of bamboo seeds which are packed with nutrients especially the proteins. The seeds attract hordes of rats from nearby places. They gorge on these seeds and gets very hefty and indulge in the procreation. There population increases exponentially. After cleaning out the seeds, the hordes of the rats turn their attention on the provisions stored by the people living nearby. In the matter of days, they eat up every thing creating the famine.
Due to the shortage of food, the inhabitants are forced to eat anything they find in the jungle or contaminated leftover food and fall ill. Thus along with the famine, a epidemic visits the people. In the past, due to the casual attitude of the government, people revolted against the state.
Many of us have heard the story of pied piper of Hamelin which charmed the hordes of rats which had made the life of people a hell and lured them to their death. May be such a pied piper was there also when these disasters occurred. But no cheating with him in the payment for his services as the governments generally do, otherwise it can invite his wrath and he can lure the innocent children and take them with him.
Corn along with rice and maize are the basic grains used all over the world. They evolved in different parts of the world in different climates and conditions. Wheat for example is said to have been originated in Middle East. Rice requires plenty of water for cultivation and thus grown in the areas where rains are heavy or other sources of water are easily available. Here we are talking about the evolution of corn.
Evolution of the parent wild varieties have taken place through man’s method of selective breeding over the centuries. The history of modern-day maize begins at the dawn of human agriculture, about 10,000 years ago. Ancient farmers in what is now Mexico took the first steps in domesticating maize when they simply chose which kernels (seeds) to plant.
These farmers noticed that not all plants were the same. Some plants grew larger than others, or maybe some kernels tasted better or were easier to grind. The farmers saved kernels from plants with desirable characteristics and planted them for the next season’s harvest. This process is known as selective breeding or artificial selection. Maize cobs became larger over time, with more rows of kernels, eventually taking on the form of modern maize.
Evolution is said to be gradual and slow. But in the case of corn, it evolution occurred in a burst of fairly small time. After a long search, the scientists became sure about the ancestor of maize. Its name is Teosinte. Plants are totally dissimilar in physical appearance but their DNA is very similar and two can be easily crossed to produce modified intermediate varieties. Samples bear an unmistakable resemblance to modern maize.
Following shows a collection of sizes and shapes of cobs beginning from the earliest.
Second picture shows the comparison of Maize and Teosinte plant and cobs from which Corn has evolved over thousands of year. The hybrid corn resulting from crossing the two is also shown at bottom.
The author is thankful to the following link for the two diagrams and ideas
There is a river which flows near my home. Most of the time during the year, amount of water is very limited except during monsoon season when the rains in the catchment area flush it with plenty of water. For rest of the time, it is mostly a dry bed of pebbles, stones and sand.
People roam in it. Many people immerse idols in it along with the flowers and other things of worship. Flowers are mostly marigolds. Their sometimes get lodged in the clayey soil on the edges of flowing water.
Such plants which grow unattended are called Escapes, and due to no personal care, they tend to flower and fruit as early as possible
Moisture and sunlight acts as booster for germination. Beautiful plant start growing and they blossom. Found this flowering marigold in the bed with one bud and two flowers.
The great Bhupen Hazarika an Assamese poet and singer sang a beautiful song which has the opening line as “One bud and two petals ” referring to the tea plucking in Assam tea gardens. I will entitle this picture as “One bud and two flowers”