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HERITAGE TREES OF TRICHY DISTRICT

A heritage tree is generally a large individual tree with unique value, which is considered
irreplaceable. The main criteria for considering a tree as heritage tree are its size, form,
shape, age, colour and rarity. The aesthetic, botanical, horticultural, ecological, social,
cultural and historical values are also taken into account. These trees take decades and
centuries to mature and beautify the landscape. They act as prominent landmarks of the
place where they exist. A specimen associated with a historic person, place, event or period
is also treated as heritage tree. It may be a representative of a crop grown by ancestors and
their successors that is at risk of vanishing from cultivation. A heritage tree can also be a
tree associated with local folklore, myths, legends or traditions. Certain species that are
relatively rare in an area, whether native or not, may also be granted special status.

Considering the above factors into account, the society for Conservation of Nature
(SOFCON) has identified certain heritage trees in Trichy district. The society stresses the
needs for special law to be enacted to impose restriction upon removal of these precious
trees. With the rapid development of the state, there is a great danger of losing the national
heritage to urbanisation. The ecosystem services what these trees provide such as shelter
for wildlife, carbon sequestration, release of oxygen, shade, soil conservation, creation of
microclimate, eco-tourism, etc are much more valuable. The heritage trees of Tamil Nadu
can be performed as an outreach ecology endeavour for conserving nature.

500 YEAR OLD AALA MARAM (FICUS BENGHALENSIS) WITH A GIRTH OF 15.52 M (51) AND HEIGHT OF 21.4
M (70) FOUND IN MEKKANAACHCHI AMMAN KOIL AT PANDIYAPURAM NEAR THUDAIYUR. THE CANOPY
SPREAD IS ABOUT 3200 SQUARE FEET. ABOUT 1000 PEOPLE CAN SIT UNDER THE TREE.

The scientific name of this tree is Ficus benghalensis. Since most of the trees were found in
Bengal region, this name was given by the scientists. This belongs to the family Moraceae.
In Tamil, this is called Aal or Aala maram. It is said that since many of the small vendors
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were using the shade of this tree for selling their goods in north India, this was given the
name Banyan.

This is a large evergreen tree generally with numerous aerial roots on branches. This grows
in all districts from sea-level to 1219 meters, in deciduous and semi-evergreen forests. They
are mostly planted along the avenues for shade. This often starts life as an epiphyte.

The leaves of this tree are not only a good fodder for cattle, but also for elephants. The
milky juice is converted into birdlime and used for many useful purposes. The fruits are
relished by birds, bats, squirrels, goats, bullocks, and pigs. During drought, the fruits are
even eaten by men. In olden days the soldiers were in the habit of eating the fruits, the
tender shoots of the aerial roots and tender leaves and the taste was said to be equivalent
to that of the intoxicating liquor Soma Banam. But the fruits are said to be toxic to horses.
The trunk is not having any useful value.

The tree has got lot of medicinal values. The bark, leaf, flower, fig, seed and latex are used
for treating polyuria, diarrhoea, leucorrhoea, dental and gum disorders, poisoning and
ulcers in Siddha.

The bark, leaf, figs and latex are used for curing diabetes mellitus, erysipelas, burning
sensation, uterine disorders, fainting and vomiting in Ayurveda.

This tree can be grown easily in all types of soils except hard clayey soil. By planting cuttings
of this tree, this can be easily propagated. By growing this tree in public places, along the
roads, burial grounds, market areas, grazing grounds and waste lands, very good shade can
be created moderating the rising temperature.

500 YEAR OLD ILUPPAI MARAM (BASSIA LATIFOLIA) WITH 9.71 M (32) GIRTH AND A HEIGHT OF 32 M (105)
FOUND IN PULIYANCHOLAI AT THE FOOTHILL OF KOLLI HILLS IN TRICHY DISTRICT
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The scientific name of this tree is Bassia latifolia. The other names are Madhuca indica
and Madhuca latifolia. This tree belongs to the family Sapotaceae. The trade name is The
Mahua tree or Mohwa. This tree is called Iluppai in Tamil, Iluppa in Malayalam, Ippa in
Telugu, Ippi in Kannada and Mohua in Hindi. This tree is found growing on the slopes of
Western Ghats and in dry deciduous forests. This tree was mostly grown near the temples
for lighting the lamps by using the oil of this tree.

The flowers are cream coloured and sweet scented. Children like the fruits very much. Birds
also feed on the fruits. The petals form a more important article of food and a coarse spirit
distilled from it was used by the people who lived in the forests in the past. Even in Europe
the spirit was said to be used to adulterate brandy. It is said that a family with three children
was able to manage for one month by collecting 64 kilo grams of Mahua flowers. When
there was severe famine in Bihar from 1873-74, thousands of people survived by using the
flowers of this tree only. The juice distilled from the flowers of this tree had been used by
the people of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhyapradesh for intoxication. Sweets
also can be prepared by using the petals. The flowers form a good cattle feed. The oil
obtained from the seeds can be used for making chocolate after purifying.

The wood can be used for making building materials such as windows, doors, frames,
rafters, etc. This can also be used for ship building and for railway slippers.

Oil from the seeds is used for cooking, lighting, soaps, etc. Oil cake is good manure. When
the cake is spread on the lawns, it kills the worms. The bark is used to cure leprosy. The
honey of the flowers is used for eye troubles.

400 YEAR OLD PARAAI MARAM (STREBLUS ASPER) IN THIRUPPARAAITHTHURAI SIVAN KOIL,
NEAR PERUGAMANI IN TRICHY DISTRICT WITH A GIRTH OF 2.42 M AND A HEIGHT OF 9.2 M
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Thiru Paraai Thurai Sivan Koil has been named after this tree Paraai. This tree is
considered as Sthala Vriksha of this temple.

The scientific name of this tree is Streblus asper. This tree belongs to the family
Moraceae. The other names of this tree in Tamil are Pura, Pirasu, Kuttipila or perukku. This
is known as Parava, Pareukeu or Kurunji in Malayalam; Pakki or Barrinki in Telugu; Mitli,
Punjai or Ponnolige in Kannada and Sahada in Urdu. This is also known as the toothbrush
tree.

It is a small, often gnarled, crooked, evergreen, unarmed tree, with milky juice native to dry
regions of Thailand, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. The bark is thick, soft, light grey and
irregularly ribbed. The fruit is yellow berry when ripe and succulent.

The wood is used for making cart wheels, yokes, etc; bark for making paper; twigs for tooth
brushes; leaves for polishing woods and ivory and also used as elephant fodder. The fruit is
edible.

The wood of this tree has been used in paper making in Thailand for seven hundred years.
All the ancient Thai documents are written on the bark of this tree. The paper is found to be
durable even in the high humidity climate. It does not burn easily and resistant to insect
damage. The leaves of this tree are used as natural sand paper in traditional wood working
in Vietnam.

The bark, leaf and exudate are used for treating dysentery, dental diseases and as
aphrodisiac in Siddha medicine.

In Ayurveda, the root, bark and seed are used for treating diarrhoea, dysentery, filariasis,
diseases of nervous system and fever.
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300 YEAR OLD MAA MARAM (MANGIFERA INDICA) WITH A GIRTH OF 6.8 M (22 FT) AND A
HEIGHT OF 27 M (89 FT) FOUND IN PULIYAN CHOLAI AT THE FOOTHILL OF KOLLI HILLS IN
TRICHY DISTRICT

The scientific name of this tree is Mangifera indica. The trade name is Mango Tree. It is
known as Mamaram in Tamil; Mavu in Malayalam; Mavu or Mavinamara in Kannada;
Mamidi in Telugu and Aam in Hindi. This belongs to the family Anacardiaceae.

Mango is native to southern Asia, especially eastern India, Burma and the Andaman Islands.

This is a large, evergreen tree found growing in moist evergreen climax forests up to 1200 m
and extensively cultivated for its delicious fruits. It is considered to be the largest fruit-tree
in the world. Mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and Philippines. It is said that the
great poet Kalidasa has sung about this tree during 4th century. It is learnt that during 16th
century, the Mughal Emperor, Akbar had planted 100,000 mango trees in Bihar in a place
now known as Lakhi Bagh.

The wood is chiefly used for making planks, doors, packing cases, musical instruments,
plywood and low-cost furniture, etc.

The root bark, stem bark, leaf, flower, immature fruit, mature fruit, seed and gum are used
for treating urinary disorders, leucorrhoea, urticaria, thirst, diarrhoea, ulcers, menorrhagia
and intermittent fever in Siddha medicine.
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In Ayurveda, the bark, leaf, flower, fruit and seed kernel are used for treating ear diseases,
diarrhoea, haemorrhage and menorrhagia.

Mngo has been cultivated, praised and even revered in its homeland since ancient times.
Buddhist monks are said to have taken the mango on voyages to Malaya and eastern Asia in
the 4th and 5th centuries B.C.

Mango tree is worshipped as Sthala Vriksha in the temples located in Mayiladuthurai,


Thirimanthurai, Ekambeswarar temple (Kanchipuram), Avinashi and Thiruneeragam.

V.Sundararaju.IFS(Retd),

President, Society for Conservation of Nature (SOFCON),

Tamil Nadu, India.

Mail id: sundarifs.raju@gmail.com

www.sofcon.org

Mobile:9443170366.