Tina of In the Garden started the 'Signature Plant' series. Ever since I read that wonderful post it's been on my mind. After much vacillation between this, that and the other, I've settled for the Indian Blackberry. Also known as the Java Plum, black plum, and jambul, it's botanical name is Syzigium cumini or Eugenia jambolana. It's a common tree in Asia and native to India, Indonesia and Pakistan. In my region we call it jam (rhymes with 'calm'). It's commonly known as jamun in many parts of India. But before I go into why I've chosen this plant, let's take a look at it. This is the oldest tree in my garden. All of 14! Its height is roughly 16ft now but the tree can reach 30mtrs and live to a hundred years. The wood is used for making railway sleepers and furniture. The seeds, leaves and bark have been attributed with many medicinal properties. By March/April the tree is covered with cream-coloured feathery blooms. By June the berries begin to ripen. It's an attractive sight-- green and purple together. And the birds come in flocks... By July end, and in some cases, till August, the berries remain. By early November, the leaves turn yellow and start to fall. A closer look reveals tiny red blotches and on that bright yellow. In this photo, the fallen leaf has become a refuge for a dying bee. On a December morning...the tree never becomes totally bare. I've read that in dry areas all the leaves fall but here on clayey, wet ground, it doesn't get any chance!
This is a tree that does not need much care. Growing next to the wall and the power line, I keep it severely pruned. That's on the western side. Towards the east I keep no check on its growth. Our area gets flooded every summer and the water remains for days. Every year I hope and pray that it survives the rains and our city's bad drainage. It's still going strong. (Touch wood!) And when the leaves fall, they go into a bin that I keep next to the tree. Then months later, the leaf mould goes back into the soil. Just as I take care of my plants, I feel that in the same way, the tree's connection to its immediate surroundings is total. And for all these reasons I've chosen the Indian Blackberry as my Signature Plant. And since I recently got pictures of my tree's source, I thought I'd include them as well. The old tree in my mother's garden, the one with tree-ferns and other epiphytes. I got the sapling under this tree when my younger son was a a month old. I brought the plant to Guwahati in a milk carton! Old trees have so much character. More tree embellishment here. The same tree has quite a few ants' nests. They look as if the leaves are stitched together into basket shapes. This picture is a little blurry.
Thank you Tina for starting the series. I loved posting this. Of course I had to keep a check on myself...the tendency to go on and on.....!!
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau