Tree tales: Arjun, Ashok & Swietenia๐Ÿ๐ŸŒณ(April series Part ๐Ÿž of ๐Ÿ )

All three a family !? No chance ๐Ÿ˜€. But April is a good time to identify these three trees.

Starting with Swietenia macrophylla, which is the scientific name for the large leaved mahogany also called the Honduras mahogany. I have walked past this tree many times not knowing what it was. We have two of these trees around our apartment complex. The first sight of recognition (and curiosity) are the brown woody capsules seen standing upright high up on the branches. They are a strange sight, considering almost all other fruits brown and green are seen hanging downwards on a tree. For weeks I have walked past the brown woody capsules high up in the air, hoping to see what happens next. The fruits (wooden capsule) start appearing from Jan and by Feb their numbers rapidly increase and they split open, releasing the seeds and the leaves start dropping off ๐Ÿ‘‡

The branches of the tree soon became almost bare and the new leaves starting emerging from March onwards and in no time, the tree is draped in glistening green again. Then on a morning walk around the Kasavanahalli lake, I heard a ‘crack’ sound, looked up and saw that there were the same brown woody capsules high on the nearby tree and they had split open; the shell looked like a half open wooden flower with a beige insides. Then there was a ‘grunt’ sound, startled I moved away, there was a piglet nearby nosing around the vicinity of the tree, and not wanting to be in its way, I crossed to the opposite side of the walkway. After this sighting, maybe due to what is called the frequency illusion, I started noticing the many large leaved mahogany planted and growing around the Kasavanahalli lake. The one leaf of this tree, is actually a leaflet, a single leaf is feather compound and is composed of pairs of these leaflets.

So what happens in April !? The tree is handsome again fully covered with narrow, glossy dark green leaves with pointy tips and some trees are even flowering ! The flowers are tiny, high on the branches, whitish. And the ground around will be strewn with the tiny blooms. And most of the wooden capsules fall off after they split open , while a few still remain on the tree.

Flowers on the large leaved mahogany

Next up Arjun; this tree is very popular around the Kasavanahalli lake after the Singapore cherry tree, which is full of ripe small red cherries now; the Honge (Indian Beech tree), whose flowers, fruits and leaves are fast disappearing exposing the bare scrawny branches; the Earpod wattle, the Eucalyptus. The Arjun is again first recognised by its brown dried fruit shaped like a conical drill bit with toothed edges, still seen hanging from a few trees. Then you notice the trunk, the bark is peeling and the trunk is tinged greenish; the branches are bare in March, the older leaves are in shades of red ๐Ÿ‘‡

Fruit of the Arjun tree shaped like a conical drill bit

And what happens to Arjun in April !? The tree gets a rebirth in the form of new leaves and this is soon succeeded by flowers. The older leaves turn red and fall off, while the new tender leaves are green. There are many Arjun trees at the lake and in bloom they are a pretty sight !

The flowers yellowish are clustered as spikes ๐Ÿ‘‡

Flowers of the Arjun tree

Ashok is a sentinel. Also very popularly called the Indian Mast tree (Polyalthia longifolia). They are planted along compound walls to block prying eyes into the houses and also quite effective as a shield from the dust on the roads. Their leaves are pretty with the wavy margins rivalling the artificial waves created using hair curlers. All the attention goes to their tall stature and beautiful wavy leafs on drooping branches; new shiny green leaves appear in April. But April is their flowering season too !

Ashok’s flowers are greenish white, star shaped ๐Ÿ‘‡

Flowers of the Ashok tree

That’s three very popular and beautiful trees in bloom in Bangalore in April๐Ÿ’š; there’s plenty more going on, summer is the busiest time for nature !

Till next post, take care !!

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