Trees are treasures

Understand the importance of trees and why we need to protect them.

March 31, 2014 05:42 pm | Updated May 19, 2016 12:43 pm IST - chennai:

Chennai: 26/03/2014: The Hindu: young world: Book Review Column:
Title: Vriksha, original tree Stories and Real Tree Facts. 
Author: Vinitha Ramachandani.
Illustrated by Lavanya Karthik.

Chennai: 26/03/2014: The Hindu: young world: Book Review Column:
Title: Vriksha, original tree Stories and Real Tree Facts. 
Author: Vinitha Ramachandani.
Illustrated by Lavanya Karthik.

Did you know…

The rain tree is not originally from India and that it may have come from South America?

Tamarind seeds have been used as emergency food. They are roasted, soaked to remove the seed coat, then boiled or fried, or ground to a flour or starch.

The coconut is native to coastal areas of Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Melanesia. Many say that during prehistoric times, wild forms of the coconut must have drifted eastward through ocean currents to coastal India.

If you slice the banana fruit in the middle, you will find tiny black specks. These are seeds. But, unlike most plants, more bananas will not grow or germinate from these seeds.

The Indian laburnum tree with its slim, grey and smooty bark is seen all over India and is the state flower of Kerala and the national flower of Thailand.

The flowers, roots and bark of the sea hibiscus have medicinal properties.

The mango tree and the cashew tree are related. That is, both these trees and other trees like the pistachio and the poison ivy, come from the Anacardiaceae family

Tree gold

These and other interesting facts can be found in Vriksha. The book is a compilation of stories and facts about various trees. It speaks of the vanity and selfishness of the rain tree who would not allow the rain to fall through her thick branches. She understood the far reaching implication of this only when it was too late. But however, she does make amends.

The story of the Indian Laburnum is touching, yet inspiring. Kannee gives all she has to feed a poor, one legged man whose hunger does not seem to subside. Finally, she decides to sell the gold she has so assiduously saved for her daughters. But when she looks in her box she finds the gold has disappeared. A tragic end it should be, but then there is more to the story and that’s what makes for a happy ending.

What happens when you sneak into Lord Indra’s palace to steal his amrut? One day, you are sure to be caught. And that’s what Cocona realised when she stole into the palace one fatal day. How would Lord Indra punish her?

Or what happens when you sneak into Devlok and steal Indra’s crown? Jaggu, a demon loved pranks. The demons of his land loved him nevertheless and always laughed at his pranks. But one day he went a bit too far. He snuck into Devlok, past the magic and the guards and stole Indra’s crown. When caught, Jaggu is unrepentant and refuses to return the crown. But Indra has other plans for him and they sure come as a surprise to Jaggu.

Himanshu was a handsome young man who stole the hearts of all the girls in his village. Every girl believed that HImanshu loved her the most. But the truth was that he loved only himself. Will he meet his comeuppance?

The stories are short and interestingly written and easy to understand. Each story deals with one tree and then goes on to tell you more about the tree. For example, its botanical name, what it looks like, what the leaf, fruit and flower look like, its roots and more.

A delightful way to get you interested in trees and how to care for them and more importantly why trees are so essential for us.

Vriksha, Original Tree Stories and Real Tree Facts , Vinitha Ramchandani, Mango, Rs. 145

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