Feast (ThursdayTreeLove)

Instead of a tree growing in the open, today I have my Bonsai tree for you. We call it Wax but botanically it is the Ehretia microphylla or Fukien Tea. It belongs to the Boranginaceae family and I have seen it growing in the Andamans but its ‘cousin’ Ehretia laevis does grow in Pune. Its shiny small leaves make it a perfect species for Bonsai. My tree is a Shohin and the reason I post it today is that currently it is fruiting and is a big attraction for local birds.

Shiny dark green leaves. Buds and fruit on the plant. Birds leave the green raw fruit alone.
The red ripe fruit is irresistible to Sunbirds! Its about the size of a grain of Toor Dal.
A pair of Sunbirds feast on the fruits!

Here is my tree in case you are curious… It is about 10″ tall.

My plant is still Work In Progress especially the Apex.

Fruit on my Cherry Bonsai

The same species that I saw in the Andamans
Thats Cherry on my Bonsai and Bulbuls love it. However the green raw ones are left untouched and once ripened the Bulbus unerringly feast on it.. You can see a half eaten cherry here!

We are a small group of Bonsai Moms and shower our trees with love and care. As you can see, the trees reciprocate by blooming and fruiting profusely which in turn is a feast for birds and insects. And a source of immense joy and satisfaction for us.

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. Do head over to see fantastic plants 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!

Coffee (ThursdayTreeLove)

I have posted Coffee on my blog earlier and here it is again.

The reason for a repeat post on Coffee is because @puneribaker shared these lovely Coffee blossom images.. And I had to share them with all TTL bloggers!

Coffee belongs to the Coffea genus and to the Rubiaceae family.

Its flowers are extremely fragrant and grow in leaf axils. The leaves itself are oppositely placed on the stem and have a prominent interpetiolar stipule. This kind of stipule is a characteristic of this plant family.

Commercially, coffee is grown in tea estates under the shade of tall Silver Oak trees. In India, the Kodagu district in Karnataka is a prominent coffee growing region.

But plant lovers have procured and nurtured coffee plants in their gardens in other parts of India as well. The above images are from one such garden. The species grows well in Pune.. bears flowers and fruits (despite not being in its optimal weather conditions) thus keeping the plant parents are happy!!

I am joining Parul in her ThursdayTreeLove blog hop. We are meeting after a break and best wishes to Parul for recovery. Do head over to her blog to see some fantastic trees from around the world. Better still, join in!

PS. Some other Rubiaceae members are Mussaenda , Morinda citrifolia and Mitragyna parviflora. They are popular garden varieties and I am sure you would have seen those.

Fruit or Bowl (ThursdayTreeLove)

Kamamdalu, Beggars Bowl are just 2 of the common names of this tree of the Bignoniaceae family. Quite self explanatory I think! Calabash is yet another name this tree is known by.

The common names suggests that the fruit shell continues to be useful even after its pulp is consumed. Very few plants can boast that….coconut is one. Can you think of another?

This tree is Crescentia cujete and is seen around Pune mostly as a planted tree. It doesn’t grow very tall and bears flowers directly on its trunk. (This is referred to as Cauliflory. Jackfruit grows in this manner.) The large fruit seem too heavy for its stalk but it does a good job!! The evergreen species is originally from South America yet seems to be happy in our country!

Flowers!

Here is You Tube video of the same tree .. I have added this video as it gives a nice perspective of the plant and fruit.

Have you seen this Fruit-Bowl?

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

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. 🙁

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

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!

Golden Silk Cotton

The Golden Silk Cotton Tree is a wonderful harbinger of end of winters in my city. Its botanical name is Cochlospermum religiosum and belongs to the Bixaceae family. Some of its other common names are called Torchwood Tree, Buttercup Tree, Ganer, Sonali Simul. The name Golden Silk is probably from the silky fibers seen when the fruit bursts.

This bare tree on my walk route showing off it’s flowers!

The tree being deciduous in nature, drops all its leaves as winter begins. One begins to wonder if the bare tree will survive. But come January, with the first whisper of spring, the Ganer bursts into beautiful golden yellow flowers. They open before dawn and are said to be fragrant. I see them every year on the Vetal Tekdi but the blooms are usually very high up and impossible to reach till one drops down. A powerful camera can capture flower details but not its fragrance.

The flower

In a few months, the oval fruit develops and it rather looks like a Brinjal! It bursts to reveal seeds embedded in silky cotton.

Fruits that look like brinjals.

Further, the Buttercup Tree has very pretty foliage as well .. the leaves are lobed and pleated are add to its beauty when in leaf.

This native tree is grows in the subcontinent and finds a mention in the book Jungle Trees of Central India by Pradip Krishen. It is on the cover of the book Aple Vruksha by Prof SD Mahanjan.

Celebrity on the cover page!
A page from the book Jungle Trees of Central India by Pradip Krishen. A must have for tree lovers! See the silky fibres inside a burst fruit (top right).

Strangely, several attempts to propogate this tree have failed.. from seed, cuttings and so on. Hence, one can see this plant only in the wild.

Have you seen the Golden Silk Cotton Tree? It grows on the hills of Pune and is still blooming. The golden flowers will beckon you from the bare branches around it! It is well worth the effort to trek up and enjoy these wonderful blossoms.

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

Red (ThursdayTreeLove)

One of the ( many) good things of ThursdayTreeLove is the visual treat of Fall colours – something that I want to see with my own eyes. Maybe some day. While we do have several deciduous trees here, they do not have such spectacular Fall colours . Instead we have many trees that throw out beautiful and amazing new foliage in Spring. But more about that another time.

The Terminalia catappa is one of our trees that does turn a brilliant red when it drops it leaves. Currently this species is most eye catching all over my city mainly for its red leaves as they prepare to fall off.

Looking up !

This native species is quite common in my city especially in gardens and by the roadsides.

Ready to drop leaves. The distinctive tree outline can be seen here.

The leaves are large, oval shaped and leathery in texture. Flowers are not showy but can be spotted easily if one looks for them. Terminalia catappa belongs to the Combretaceae family and is also commonly called Jungli Badam.

The inflorescence peeps out from behind the leaves!
Fruit is said to be edible.

Even without these red leaves, the Terminalia catappa is easily recognisable due to its distinctive growth pattern. The branches seem to grow in whorls stacked on top of each other.

When not dry, the leaves cast a welcoming cool shadow …. a great place to shelter from the blazing Sun.

I am sure many of you must have seen and admired this lovely tree.

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!

Candelabra (ThursdayTreeLove)

I debated using Tree and Cycle as the title of my post today! Finally settled on the one you see. Here was my reasoning……this is a species I see on my cycle route (for unused title) and in its present almost bare condition, i think it resembles a grand Candelabra!

Take a look at these images.. i am sure you will agree with my title choice!

This is the Maharukh or Ailanthus excela of the Simaroubaceae family. It is also called Indian Tree of Heaven. It is a native tree of the deciduous variety and currently is almost bare in Pune. Very soon it will burst into new foliage and flowers. I did manage to capture photo of its leaves and they are vey similar to the leaves of Neem (Azadirachta indica of the Meliaceae family).

This big green leaf is of our tree and is actually a leaflet. This tree has compound leaves.

It is quite common in my city either by the roadside or often along the compound walls. The tree grows quite tall and is very majestic. Its branches grow upwards from the main trunk bole and seem to reach for the sky.. almost like the arms of a candelabra.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

Does the silhouette of any tree remind you of objects we use in our lives? Is that just a coincidence or does nature unknowingly influence our designs?

Have you seen the Indian Tree of Heaven? It should be blossoming soon.. do look our for its tiny yellowish green flowers.

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!

Well Settled (ThursdayTreeLove)

Today, my tree is not really a tree.. its a woody perennial climber that grows huge thick trunks that almost look like tree trunks. Its very well known for its flowers and very common all over India. This non-native species has made itself at home and seems very happy judging by the profuse flowering we see.

Well settled as it were!

The flamboyant blossoms are not fragrant but are a sight to behold. Strangely its ‘petals’ are not really petals but bracts. Its fruit is said to be an achene but I have not yet seen one.

I am sure by now you have guessed which plant I refer to.

Yes…. Its the Bougainvillea!

The plant belongs to the Nyctaginaceae family and the Bougainvillea glabra is a common species B spectabilis is another.

What a wonderful roof cover!
Just a few of the glorious colours!
The Pink bracts enclose the white flower!
India Posts has issued a stamp to honour this plant.

Some Bougainvillea variants lend themselves to being made into Bonsai and are popular among Bonsai artists in India. Here is wonderful Bonsai by Master Nacho Marin as it put up on the Bonsai Empire website.

A stunning Bonsai by Master Nacho Marin .. Image uploaded via a link from the Bonsai Empire Website
This is a Bougainvillea bonsai by late Mrs Mandakini Malaviya . Photo added on 15/1/21

Where have you seen the Bougainvillea? Which colours have you seen? Have you spotted the double coloured cultivars?

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