7 Amazingly useful trees to plant in the City

You see them every day, but do you know what is special about these trees planted on our roads, parks and gardens? Apart from making our city beautiful, what do these trees do to make our lives better? How do they make the ecosystem thrive? Let’s find out with our very own city tree guide:

*Famine food: Usually not eaten, only eaten during scarcity.

Jackfruit

Scientific Name: Artocarpus Heterophyllus

Local names: Phanas, Kanthal

Size and Season: Up to 15m tall, Evergreen.

How to spot it: Fruit, Leaf shape, Bark colour.

Good for us: Fresh fruit – eat. Raw fruit – cook as vegetable. Leaf – steam idlis in it!

Good for the planet: Food for animals, microclimate for shrubs and habitat for tree dwellers!

How to grow it: From seeds. Eat the fruit and save the seeds!

Drumstick

Scientific Name: Moringa Pteridosperma / Moringa Olifera

Local names: Shevga, Sainjna

Size and Season: Up to 18m tall, Evergreen.

How to spot it: Fruit, Leaf size and pattern.

Good for us: One of the most nutritious plants to have in your garden. Cook the fruit as a vegetable to make delicious sambar or soup.

Good for the planet: Food for animals, good for the soil!

How to grow it: From seeds. Eat the fruit and save the seeds!

Neem

Scientific Name: Azadirachta Indica

Local names: Kadulimba, neem

Size and Season: 12-18m tall, Evergreen.

How to spot it: Leaf shape, Leaf taste.

Good for us: One of the most well known Ayurvedic medicinal plants, Neem with its anti bacterial, anti fungal and immune boosting properties can help heal and maintain a healthy body.

Good for the Planet: leaves and fruit are eaten by animals, the flower scent attracts a variety of insect and bird life to your garden.

How to grow it: From seeds.

Mango

Scientific Name: Mangifera Indica

Local Names: Amba, Aam

Size and season: 10 to 45m tall, Evergreen.

How to spot it: Leaf shape, dense foliage.

Good for us: Apart from eating the delicious ripe fruit, many preparations can be made out of the raw fruit. The seed kernel is edible and also yields oil. The timber can be used to make furniture.

Good for the planet: Flower scent attracts bats and insects that in turn help maintain the balance of the ecosystem.

How to grow it: From seeds. Choosing local varieties rather than grafted ones ensures a more hardy plant and supports a richer ecosystem.

Peepal

Scientific Name: Ficus Religiosa

Local Name: Pimpal

Size and season: Up to 30m tall, semi evergreen.

How to spot it: Leaf shape.

Good for us: The tender leaves and fruit are actually edible. The gum can be used to seal small holes in tyre tubes.

Good for the Planet: The fruits attract fig wasps, birds and squirrels. The leaves are good food for cows, elephants and other herbivores.

How to grow it: From seeds. Peepal best grows naturally from bird droppings, and is pollinated by wasps. So a bird friendly and insect friendly environment will automatically ensure a lot of trees!

Karanj

Scientific Name: Pongamia Pinnata

Local Names: Pongam, Karanj

Size and season: 15-20m tall, deciduous.

How to spot it: Shape of hanging pods, leaf shape.

Good for us: The seed oil can be used to make fuel, to lubricate bullock carts, and treat skin disease and as a sun block. The root, bark and juice of leaves are all medicinal.

Good for the Planet: This nitrogen fixing tree enriches the soil. The roots strongly bind the soil to control erosion. The leaves make good fodder for cattle.

How to grow it: Find the seedlings sprouted on the ground from fallen trees. Raise them and transplant!

Coconut

Scientific Name: Cocos Nucifera

Local Name: Naral, Nariyal

Size and season: Up to 25m tall. Evergreen.

How to spot it: Erect, unbranched tree.

Good for us: Known in India as kalpavriksh, all parts of this tree can be used. The coconut itself provides nutritious flesh and coconut water. The large leaves can make beautiful thatch roofs and the coir can be made into ropes.

Good for the planet: As it can tolerate salty water, the coconut tree is ideal for shores and low lying areas, especially in the face of rising sea levels. But care must be taken to plant plenty of other species alongside them to create bird habitats, otherwise the tree can deplete soil nutrients.

How to grow it: The seed takes 3 months to germinate when kept in moist soil.

#nitrogenfixing #trees #local #bees

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