Our Plant Life
Tall, slender, graceful areca palms dot our farm in a geometric pattern. These trees have a tremendous capacity to clean up the air around them – ranked second in the NASA’s list of most purifying trees in the world. The smooth trunk provides the perfect support for the similar looking Betel leaf vines and the Black pepper vines.
The coconut palms with its stout, rough trunk vies for the sunlight and snakes it way out to tower over the tall areca palm. With each leaf frond weighing almost 10 kgs and each coconut weighing almost 2 kgs, you would not want to be caught in its path of descent.
While these 2 palms form a dense canopy over the farm, at a height of almost 60 to 80 feet, the next level of trees are the medium sized ones of nutmeg, clove, mango, guava, chikoo, jackfruit, breadfruit, Bilimbi, Vatamba and kokum. Each tree is distinct in its own characteristic traits – leaves, trunk, flowering and fruiting times, and the colours of the fruits.
In all these, one tree stands apart in all its viciousness – the Chaarmara tree. Innocuous looking with purplish black berries hanging in clusters, the berries are so toxic that consuming a couple of them is fatal. Just touching the berries or the leaves, trunk, root of the tree will cause severely itchy rashes all over your body. Thankfully, none of the other trees are vicious.
A level below these trees are the banana plants. Large long green leaves and a cluster of banana bunches around a thick stalk, almost every part of this plant is edible. The raw bananas can be used as a vegetable and the banana flower which hangs at the end of the cluster of fruit can be turned into an exotic curry. Once the fruit is harvested, the banana plant is left to dry, but the core of the stem can be used as a vegetable and of course the leaves can be used as plates.
Coming now to the ground level are the pineapple plants though some grow to a height of almost 3 feet. A beautiful rosette of spiky leaves with a single pineapple on each plant.
And then there is the floor of the farm, thickly overgrown with grass, ferns, brahmi creepers, touch me-nots and the myriad weeds. Each one of these plays its special role in this microcosm world of which we can only watch in awe and admiration.