T. S. Atul Swaminathan
Nizhal, a trust to promote concern for trees in the city, conducted its Margazhi Tree Walk on Gandhi Nagar, Fourth Main Road, Adyar, on Saturday (December 29). The walk was guided by T. D. Babu, core member, Nizhal.
The educational programme aimed to engage the people, doing their bit for care and conservation of trees in their neighbourhood began with Bodhi Tree, which produces the most oxygen.
‘The tree can grow without soil, and can absorb water from atmosphere. The tree is not advisable for home gardening,’ Babu said.
Next on the walk was ‘Gulmohar Tree’, called as May Flower. The flowers blooms during the month of May. The tree is an exotic and even a weak species. Even a small strong wind can uproot this tree.
The tree is cultivated because of its beauty and the shade it provides, he explained.
When I come across the Mast tree, Babu points out at me and says most people mistake this tree, for the Ashoka tree. ‘In olden days, there was a myth that planting an Ashoka tree at home would bring sorrow, because shokam meant sorrow. The tree was used to build masts in ships.’
The ‘Vilvam’ Tree, he said, is used in the worship of Lord Shiva. The leaves and fruits are used for medicinal purposes. It is a good natural hair conditioner. ‘When you are stressed or tired, stand under the Magizham Tree when it is in full bloom. The aroma from the flower acts as a stress-buster. The tree flowers are used to make perfumes,’ Babu says.
“Nailing advertisement boards on the trees will cause bacterial and viral infections. Cementing around the trees is illegal. The roots start deteriorating, and disrupts the flow of water and absorption of minerals to the branches. Hanging lights on the trees kill millions of microbes and exposes the bird’s nests. The birds are unable to take rest in the night. Most people do not know about these things,” he said.