Tree tales: Figs in season 🌿🌳 (April series Part 𝟠 of 𝟠)

There is a Muslim cemetery adjacent to the boundary wall of our apartment complex. Burial grounds are considered as sacred spaces, but if they are not situated next to the place of worship it’s upkeep usually gets neglected and as in all unguarded plots, weeds and waste tend to accumulate. People do visit the tombs; the occasion is usually marked a garland of fresh flowers seen hung on the headstones.

This burial ground is home to one of India’s sacred trees, the banyan and being left undisturbed, it’s aerial roots are winding about all over the place. The Banyan is a fig tree and in April, the figs are in season, they start of as small light green stalkless round balls on the branches, gradually turn orange and then ripen to red.

Banyan tree with its aerial roots

The fig trees are seen progressing from new leaves to figs and figs are considered fruits, so where are the flowers? The flowers are tiny and they are enclosed in the fig; thus the fig is actually a container that holds the tree’s flowers. Next logical question, if the flowers are in a closed container, how does pollination take place to produce seeds ? There are the extremely small fig wasps for this specialized task! The female fig wasps who are the pollinators, manage to exit the figs through the tiny opening seen as the at the bottom (opposite the stem side) of the fig, while the male wasps are hatched and die within the fig itself after the mating.

Another fig bearing tree in April is the Mysore Fig tree πŸ‘‰ A trail among the trees βž°πŸŒ³πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈat the Kasavanahalli lake, Bangalore (March series Part 𝟚 of πŸ›). Last month the tree was full of new leaves and the branches now are laden with figs. The figs are stalkless, starting off as light green and then ripening to orange.

April has been an exciting summer so far and let’s see what surprises May holds.

Till next post, take care !!

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