Heritage Trees of Mysore

By KB Sadananda

In Indian tradition and culture including folklore, much importance has been given to certain values, which are meticulously followed in order to improve the quality of life.  In fact it is a built in character of Indian ethos.  One such value is to recognise, respect and to remember our spiritual leaders, saints who are guiding our socio-spiritual life.  Similarly ancient monuments and buildings are also greatly revered and protected irrespective of caste or religion.

However, nowadays the great silent services rendered by plants especially trees are seldom recognised or respected.  Bearing this in mind some elderly persons -Ramalingam A,  Sadananda KB & Veerappa KM formed a humble organization called “Committee for the protection of heritage trees” with the sole purpose of identifying century old trees in the city and environs and to highlight their historical value as well as their ecological values. The committee came into existence in March 2007 and began the work of identifying such old trees. So far SIX such trees belonging to different species have been identified.  The approximate age of these trees has been ascertained by gathering information through local knowledge. Their size, crown shape, etc has also been collected, and documented.   Secondly, relevant data of such trees as the name of the plant, scientific name, and its family as well as the person/organisation looking after the trees (without harming or mutilating them) has been displayed by means of a small board.



A simple declaration function would be held, where a small gathering of people would assemble and the features of the particular tree would be made aware of. The media, especially the press gave good coverage.  Later, quite often, interested school students were taken to the spots on a daylong trip and their salient features would be narrated.  Simple tasks such as measuring their height, circumference, birds and other creatures active on the tree were given to the participants.  This exercise could not be continued in recent times.

Bio-data of the ‘declared heritage’ trees is as follows;


Peepal  Tree

Common Kannada Name: Arali mara

Scientific name: Ficus religiosa

Family: MORACEAE

Location: Manasa Gangothri, near Hostel for Men

Protection by: University of Mysore

Flowering: July-September

Fruiting: September-November

Dispersal of seed by: Bird, Squirrel, Bat

Approximate age of tree:  150 years



Tamarind  Tree or Indian Date

Common Kannada Name: Hunise mara

Scientific name: Tamarindus indica

Family: CAESALPINIACEAE

Location: Manasa Gangothri, near old plant nursery

Protection by: University of Mysore

Flowering: April - May

Fruiting: July - August

Dispersal of seed by: Humans, Bird, Squirrel, Bat

Approximate age of tree:  350 years

 

Neem  Tree or Margosa Tree

Common Kannada Name: Bevina mara

Scientific name: Azadirachta indica

Family: MELIACEAE

Location: in between Crawford Hall (University offices) & Oriental Research Institute

Protection by: University of Mysore

Flowering: March

Fruiting: April - May

Dispersal of seed by: Bird, Squirrel, Bat

Approximate age of tree:  110 years


Indian Cherry Plum  or Jujube  Tree

Common Kannada Name: Yelachi mara

Scientific name: Ziziphus mauritiana

Family: RHAMNACEAE

Location: Tamil Sangham School, Vanivilas Road, Chamarajapuram

Protection by: Governing body of School

Flowering: September – November

Fruiting: February - August

Dispersal of seed by: Humans, Bird, Squirrel, Bat

Approximate age of tree:  100 years

 


Banyan  Tree

Common Kannada Name: Aalada mara

Scientific name: Ficus benghalensis

Family: MORACEAE

Location: Chikka halli on the way to T. Narsipura

Protection by: Sri Chikka halli Madaiah

Flowering: March - June

Fruiting: April - October

Dispersal of seed by: Bird, Squirrel, Bat

Approximate age of tree:  200 years          

 

Red Silk Cotton Tree

Common Kannada Name: Burugada mara

Scientific name: Bombax ceiba

Family: BOMBACACEAE

Location: Curzon Park (Mysore Palace north gate)

Protection by: Horticulture department, Govt of Karnataka

Flowering: February - March

Fruiting: March onwards

Dispersal of seed by: Bird, Squirrel, Wind

Approximate age of tree:  100 years

 

It must be remembered that this city has many more deserving trees which need to be identified recognised and protected.

Mysore heritage trees route map



Map index:

A – Mysore City Railway Station

B- Peepal in Mysore University Campus


C- Tamarind in Mysore University Campus


D- Neem   in between Crawford Hall (University offices) & Oriental Research Institute


E- Jujube  in Govt Tamil School premises,

F- Banyan  in Chikka halli on the way to T. Narasipura

G- Red silk cotton in Curzon Park near North gate of Mysore Palace

H- Mysore Sub-urban Bus stand



Photo Credit's: Kishen Das