Every morning I walk into office to be greeted by the most beautiful and unusual tree right outside my window. The leaves are bright green and large, like a million leaves I have seen before, but the flowers! Oh! The flowers are something else! Like soft pincushion balls. The buds like tennis balls. I can’t help marvel at the beauty of nature every time I see this tree. To find out more I googled it and here’s what came up.
Turns out the tree is the Kadamb. Botanical name being Anthocephalus Cadamba. It is usually planted around temples. Why? Because according to Hindu mythology it is a favourite of Lord Krishna. He used to play the flute under this tree and play with the cowherds. Another name for the tree is Haripriya, a favourite of the gods! The Kadamb tree has religious value not only in India, but also in Java and Malaysia. It is said that Goddess Durga lives in a Kadamb forest.
The flowers are a favourite with bees too, you see them flocking around the flower, one day I happened to smell it and was pleasantly surprised with the fragrance. Talking about fragrance, one more fact came up on research. Kadamb flowers are used in the making of attar and this lovely tree has medicinal properties too and is a cure for many ailments. Beauty with purpose!
Another interesting fact that came to light was that the tree is used for soil reclamation. The large amount of leaves and other components it sheds enhances the physical and chemical properties of the soil.
Just when I was wondering if with all the uses it was edible and whether I could think up some recipes with it, I got to know that the leaves are sometimes used as plates. That’s the closest it comes to the food area.
It is believed in some parts of India that planting a Kadamb close to rivers and ponds brings happiness and prosperity. I offer a silent thank you to the person who planted it outside my window, may the gods bring him happiness too!