A glimpse into WCC's rich green cover that's found its way into a book. Authors of The Green Grandeur of Women's Christian College take us through WCC's rarest and most atypical trees.

When Dr. Ridling Waller and Ms Pauline Deborah ask their students to ‘go green', they are not talking just about shunning that odd-plastic bag and advising you to walk an extra mile. It quite literally translates into planting more saplings.

Authors of The Green Grandeur of Women's Christian College, they take us through WCC's rarest and most atypical trees. Right from sacred trees to exotic trees to trees that invite birds such as the Golden Oriole and Indian Pitta, which are otherwise elusive, this 18-acre expanse is the closest you can come to seeing a lush greenscape come alive in the city.

Voacanga grandiflora

A very rare tree, it is known to mitigate the effects of natural disasters such as the tsunami. Ideal for planting in coastal areas, experts say these trees can diminish the effect of the high waves.

Pterocarpus santalinus (Red Saunders)

“According to taxonomists, the girth of the Pterocarpus santalinus tree in WCC is the largest in the city,” says Pauline. This tree, which is around 70 to 80 years old, has ‘winged fruits'. Commonly called Red Saunders, this tree is of high commercial value. And, if you are wondering why this tree would find its place in a list of rare trees, it is because it is endangered. Women can also use the powder from the trunk of this tree as a face pack.

Terminalia arjuna (Arjun Tree)

A rarity in the urban landscape, this indigenous tree is around 100 years old. Generally found only in forests, the timber from this tree is of very high value. This tree attracts tussar silk moths, the spotting of which, the authors say is very rare.

Saraca asoca (Sorrow-less tree)

It is commonly believed that eating the bud of the tree's flower will wipe off all your sorrows. A sacred tree for both Hindus and Buddhists, this tree got its name from the ‘Ashokavanam' mentioned in the Ramayana. It is believed that Sita was kept by Raavana in a garden full of these trees. As for the Buddhists, they believe that Buddha was born under one such tree. The authors say that irrespective of whether these myths are true or not, people protect this tree because it is revered.

Guaiacum officinale (Wood of Life)

This exotic tree originally native to tropical America is also called the Wood of Life, because its wood is supposed to be exceptionally strong and impervious to water. The wood from this tree is generally used to build ships. This tree is high on ornamental value with its beautiful mauve-coloured flowers.

Bombax ceiba (Red Silk Cotton)

This tree bears picturesque crimson flowers on a thorny trunk. Native to tropical Asia, the floss silk from this tree is generally used to stuff pillows.

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Asha SridharJune 28, 2012