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Auspicious tree

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Energiser The fruit of the Kadamba tree is said to be a tonic and febrifuge
Energiser The fruit of the Kadamba tree is said to be a tonic and febrifuge

The Kadamba tree starts to blossom in summer

The Kadamba tree at the Secretariat Garden is in full bloom and the crown is full of lemon-coloured globular flower heads. Anthocephalus Cadamba, (Family-Rubiaceae) is one of the sacred trees of Hindus and is rarely seen in Kerala. In Sanskrit it is called Kadamba or Kalamba, and has many synonyms, such as Sisu-pala (protecting children) and Hali-priya (dear to farmers). In Malayalam it is known as Kadambu.

Mentioned in ancient texts

Kadamba is mentioned in many ancient texts. This tree is associated with Lord Krishna during his childhood days at Vrindavan, and Kadamba trees are still seen in that area. Kadamba flowers are considered to be Goddess Parvathy’s favourite flower. The tree, which is considered auspicious, is usually planted near villages and temples. Propagated from seedlings, Kadamba grows up to 20 metres. The bark of the tree is greyish and the leaves are large. The tree starts to blossom in summer and continues till the end of May.

The tree is considered a harbinger of rain (South West monsoon) as its blossoms by the middle of summer and continues till May-end, just before the onset of the Monsoon.

In Kerala, flowering occurs prior to the North-East monsoon too. It bears fruit during the months of December and January. The fruit, about the size of an orange, is green. It turns creamy yellow once it is ripe. The fruit is said to be a tonic and febrifuge.

G.S. UNNIKRISHNAN

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