A Tree And A Nursery Rhyme ( ThursdayTreeLove)

“Here we go around the Mulberry bush…” is a popular nursery rhyme from my childhood and even now. Contrary to the song, it is not a bush but a small tree. Pune has a few of these trees though it is not native to this region and they do flower and fruit every year. Its botanical name is Morus alba and belongs to the Moraceae family.

I wondered about the origins of the rhyme especially when I saw this fruit laden tree. A Wikipedia article revealed some strange history. One theory suggests that the rhyme began with female prisoners at a prison in England who exercised around a Mulberry tree. Another theory suggests that the rhyme could be a joke on the difficulties faced by the silk industry.

This particular tree was filled with fruit though my photo does not do justice to its abundance. The small oval shaped fruit are sweet sour to taste and best eaten when dark in colour. The fruit is also very delicate and crushes easily when handled. Its flowers are green catkins that hand down from axils.

Heart shaped leaves with toothed margins. Some leaves are lobed.
Tree trunk

While this tree is small, I have seen a huge one at Joshimath in Uttarakhand, which is said to be an over 2000 year old heritage tree. (Sharing this image though I know it is totally unrelated to the nursery rhyme…)

Again, my photo does not show the massive trunk girth. It is a long walk to go around the tree.

Have you seen the Mulberry Tree? Do you remember the nursery rhyme?

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove bloghop. Do head over to see some lovely trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

Tree Frame (ThursdayTreeLove)

At the end of a two hour long walk the cool shade of this Ficus was most welcoming. As I focused my phone camera towards the hill and temple atop, the tree formed a lovely ‘frame’ to the photo.

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The Ficus frames the hill in the background

Most temples have a Ficus growing in their courtyard – usually Ficus religiosa or Ficus benghalensis. This seems to be a Ficus racemosa. All Ficus belong to the Moraceae family and are quite easy to identify.

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Ficus racemosa

We hiked in the Bopdev Ghat area of Pune and the place is mostly devoid of trees. There are several hills around and being the monsoon, we could see almost all shades of green. A sight for sore eyes indeed! The few trees that did grow markedly stood out from a distance.

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I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see some fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

PS: I have been facing some issues with my blog..wrt to.uploadimg images, comments. I am trying to sort them out. Thanks for your support and understanding! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Meanwhile, this same post is on Blogger, and if you face problems in commenting , please click here to comment. Thanks friends!!

Cousin (ThursdayTreeLove)

These cute pink ball like flowers can be quite misleading. They look like Touch Me Not flowers but the leaves do not respond to touch. Further, this is a shrubby plant whereas the Touch Me Not is mostly a ground hugging herb.

Hooked prickles visible

With no further suspense, let me share that this plant is Mimosa hamata – a ‘cousin’ of the famous Touch Me Not. Both belong to the Mimosaceae family and to the Mimosa genus. It is common on the hills of Pune and the pretty flowers demand attention from afar. They are not fragrant and the plant has hooked prickles which means one has to be careful when trying to take photographs!

Mimosa hamata is commonly seen on Vetal Tekdi

We meet several such plant cousins. The Jasmines are all ‘related’ if I may say so.. They belong to the same Genus. Which other cousins have you met?

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I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see some fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

Explore (ThursdayTreeLove)

My city, Pune, is lucky to have many hills (called tekdi in Marathi) within the city limits itself or should I say, the city has grown to engulf the hills and now threatens their very existence. I have many posts about the Vetal Tekdi but today I introduce you to the Dhanori Hills. These hills are in the periphery of Pune and overlook the airport.

Compared to Vetal Tekdi, this area is almost tree- less.. almost because there were just a handful of young trees growing there. You can see what I mean in this image.

This is a Neem tree aka Azadirachta indica of the Meliaceae family. It is a native Indian species that grows in difficult areas. It is an immensely useful tree and is seen in most parts of India.

We had to drive quite a distance to reach this spot and seeing the almost lonely tree, I found this to be a perfect quote.

If you know a lonely tree, go and visit it even it it takes miles to walk there! Because lonely tree is a great monument of strength! — Mehmet Murat ildan

The climb is easy in parts but some parts are really tough on the knees entailing huge step-ups. There is a series of three hillocks with a flat portion after each that leads to the next climb. The fourth hillock has a small temple that is a very calm and serene place.

The twin domes of the Dighi Hills (located at some distance away) can be spotted all through the climb up.

Panoramic view of the city.

Travel opens our minds to many things but I think its also important to explore different parts of the city/town we live in. One never knows what surprises it will throw up!

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove bloghop. Do head over to see some fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

Uncommon beauty (ThursdayTreeLove)

Today I share a pretty shrub that I have seen only in the wild. Somehow never spotted it in gardens be they public ones or home gardens.

Called Dhayti in Marathi or Woodfordia fruiticosa , this spreading shrub grows commonly on the hills of Pune. It has ovate leaves and the crimson or blazing orange flowers are most distinctive. Dhayti belongs to the Lythraceae family and is an indigenous species. It is said to have huge medicinal benefits in Ayurveda.

This uncommon beauty is surely worthy of a place in city gardens dont you think!

This is what the beautiful flowers reminded me of..

โ€œFlowers are the music of the ground. From earthโ€™s lips spoken without sound.โ€ โ€“ย Edwin Curran

Have you seen the Dhayti? It flowers from February to April so do watch out for it!

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove bloghop. Head over to see fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

Spicy (ThursdayTreeLove)

Todays tree has a small back story.. rather how I came to spot it.

I was sent an image of a tree in bloom requesting its ID. I, in turn shared it with some other tree lovers and it was thought to be the Dalchini tree. Someone shared the spot where it grows and very soon, one thing led to another, and a small group of us ended up going tree hunting.

It wasn’t really a hunt actually, since we knew its location but we did end up seeing a whole lot of other wonderful trees enroute. The Beggars Bowl that I shared earlier was from that same outing.

So here it is.

It looked glorious and was covered with lovely tiny yellow/white flowers. The entire area was filled with a distinct cinnamon fragrance. Cinnamomum verum belongs to the Lauraceae family and is native to India.

This is an evergreen species, not very tall and grows mainly in South India and Sri Lanka. Its distinctive leaves have three veins.

Though a native species, Pune is not its favourite geographical area but as I said, the city has many enthusiastic home gardeners who have gathered plants from far and wide and nurtured them. This is a treat for tree lovers and botany students.

Have you got a group tree lovers in your city? Do you go on tree walks – before the pandemic struck? Such groups are a great way to nurture our hobby, learn details about trees and when they flower/fruit in the area.

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see some fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

Sun Smiles (WordlessWednesday)

I spotted these beautiful flowers as I walked out of the apartment and could not resist pulling out my cell phone!

The Sunflowers reminded me of the Sun as we drew in school ..with a Smile.

These blooms seemed to smile and reassure me , offer me hope as the Pandemic groups the city.

Have you seen the Sunflowers smiling at you?.๐Ÿ˜

I am joining Natasha in her WordlessWednedsay blog hop.

Fragrance Overload (ThursdayTreeLove)

As the heat increases at this time of the year, our trees and plants burst into new leaves and flowers. This makes every Nature Walk a magical experience for the splendid colours that it dons. Fragrant flowers and the crunch of dry leaves under our feet, add to this multi sensory joyous experience! After the glorious red leaves of Kusumb, the haunting sweet fragrance of Shirish flowers announce the trees’ celebration of a season change. It beckons you to stand below the tree and drown yourself in its sweetness.

In March, on the tekdi, Shirish is among the few trees sprouting green and stands out from a distance
The Flower Up Close.. Pretty and Light and Fragrant!

Shirish goes by the botanical name Albizia lebbeck of the Mimosaceae family. The flowers are curiously shaped and look like a bunch of delicate strands that would wilt if we touch. Greenish white in colour, each ‘flower’ is actually an inflorescence. These turn into broad green fruit that dries to white over the year. At any time, the Shirish always bears these white pods which rattle in the breeze.

Standing under this row of Shirish is a heavenly experince.
Another view of a flower

As luck will have it, I am unable to locate the image of the pods but I will get a new one and upload it here. ๐Ÿ™

This species grows to a fairly large size and is common as an avenue tree in Pune. At times, it is confused with the Rain Tree (Samanea saman) also of the same family but the flower colour, pods are some of the distinguishing features.

This is the flower of the Rain Tree

Shirish is among my favourite species and in bloom right now. I am sure many of you would have seen it. Enjoy it’s flowering as the tree celebrates a season change.

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove bloghop. Head over to see fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in.

Red (ThursdayTreeLove)

I had another post with the same title a few weeks ago. So yes, you dear readers, are right in wondering if you have reached the wrong page. But no, this is a different Red, just as spectacular.

I am talking about the spring foliage of a native tree called Kusumb or Schleichera oleosa. It belongs to the Sapindaceae family and is a treat to watch. This deciduous tree bursts into new leaf as winter ends and the tree dons a glorious red. It can be easily spotted from a distance.

The blaze of red one sees when travelling in the ghats in Maharashtra at this time of the year is most likely the Kusumb.

Here are some of the tantalising glimpses we got as we were returning home from a Botany field visit. Finally, we just had to stop and enjoy this beautiful foliage.

Capturing images from a moving bus is so difficult! This is just one Red that we whizzed past.
We just had to stop!!
All of us trying to capture the red in our cell phones.

Here is the Kusumb from Pune from our Vetal Tekdi.

My phone camera does not do justice but the red is easily spotted among the bare trees, even from a distance!
A good camera in the hands of a knowledgeable person captures such great images! Photo credit Pallavi Gharpure

The Kusumb also bears flowers at this time but the leaves steal the show! Its fruit is very useful among them is being used to make a special kind of hair oil that encourages hair growth.

Schleichera oleosa finds a mention in Trees of Delhi and Jungle Trees of Central India … which means it grows in those regions as well.

Do try to see these gorgeous leaves..because they will turn green soon.

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove bloghop. Head over to see some fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!