Talipot palm in full bloom

The palm species is a monocarp that produces fruits only once in its lifetime

A talipot palm tree, which flowers only once in its life span, has been found in full bloom at Lekkanayakanpatti near Thuvarankurichi in the district.

The tree, which is referred to a ‘kodai panai’ in Tamil, was identified in a wasteland by V. Sundararaju, former district forest officer and president, Society for Conservation of Nature, Tiruchi. The tree in rare flowering stage is of much interest for the botanists, horticulturists and nature lovers. It is categorised as ‘threatened species’ by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Any species which is likely to become endangered within a foreseeable future is categorised as ‘threatened species,’ he said.

According to Mr. Sundararaju, ‘corypha umbraculifera,’ scientific name of Talipot, is a majestic and wonderful variety of the palm tribe. Though raised in certain parts of India and Sri Lanka in the wild mostly. It is common on the Malabar Coast. A tree is also found in Royal Botanical Garden of Calcutta. The tree at Lekkanayakanpatti stands 31.5 metres (as measured using Altimeter, a height measuring instrument, generally used by foresters) and its girth is 2.2 metres at a height of 8 meters, Mr. Ravi said. Talipot palm is ‘monocarpic’ that flowers (but once) when about 40 years old sending up a gigantic spadix, which produces seeds in such large profusion (averaging 254 kg per tree) that the tree gets exhausted subsequently and dies.

The tree, when in blossom bears the cone of golden coloured flowers, which when ripe, bursts with a loud noise and diffuse a disagreeable smell. It is on account of this, the natives do not place their huts near the tree. If the seeds are collected on time and propagated, it will be of great help for conservation and biodiversity, Mr. Sundararaju said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 9:05:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/talipot-palm-in-full-bloom/article6048758.ece

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