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Elegant variety of trees to face the axe

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Whither forests: The last of the Tella Burugu trees on the NH-7 in Ichoda mandal will be felled in a couple of days.
Whither forests: The last of the Tella Burugu trees on the NH-7 in Ichoda mandal will be felled in a couple of days.

S. Harpal Singh

The last of the six Tella Burugu trees that had thrived on the

NH-7 will be felled in a couple of days

ICHODA (ADILABAD DT.): As the four-laning work progresses along the 111-km stretch of the National Highway 7 in Adilabad, its view too undergoes simultaneous changes. None of the trees that had lined the existing road since decades will remain there in a few weeks from now as they will be felled for widening the present carriageway.

The last of the six Tella Burugu (Ceiba Pentandra) or Kapok trees (Safed Semul in Hindi) that had thrived on the NH 7 near the Kokas Mannur approach road in Ichoda mandal will be cut in a couple of days, depriving locals of its medicinal and others uses. The tree is drought deciduous and does not belong to a rare species, but its population in Adilabad district is limited.

Easily identifiable

The Tella Burugu tree that can grow to a height of about 150 feet is easily identifiable during the autumn and summer months as it is covered with pinkish-red flowers when it is devoid of all leaves. The pods containing brown seeds surrounded by whitish silken cotton fibre burst soon after leaf fall.

The ashen grey trunk is thorny and the bark is locally used as a pain killer by patients suffering from spinal problems and arthritis.

It is not only the liquid extract from the bark that is used to treat joint pains. The silken cotton fibre that surrounds the seeds in the pod is used to make cushions and mattresses meant for use by patients suffering from spinal and other joint pains.

“The doodekulas used to collect the silken fibre since olden times for making soft cushions and mattresses. Because the yield is meagre, it took about three to four years for a doodekula family to make one mattress. Such mattresses were very costly, of course,” recalled B. Muralidhar, Agriculture Extension Officer who has studied the local traditions in detail.

There were five Burugu trees near Gudihatnoor police station that were felled a few weeks ago when the trees had not flowered. These trees were not only useful to locals but were a feast to the eyes of the traveller on the highway.


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