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Kalam (Mitragyna parviflora),
Credit & Copyright: Dr. Bruce G.
Explanation: This majestic, spreading tree is a kalam tree in Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a wetland sanctuary in north central India which we visited in EPOW a few weeks ago. Kalam (Mitragyna parviflora) is an important tree for wildlife, particularly birds, because it not only provides fruits but has a wide, dense canopy which shelters and protects.
This particular kalam is likely 300-400 years old, a relative rarity in the heavily-occupied landscapes of India. It was likely spared the ax because of its occurrence in a very old park, although kalam often grows as a good timber tree.
Kalam is a common constituent of many forests throughout India. It is also called Kalamb in northern India, Kaim and Kalminkeram in eastern India (Mitchell et al. 2003), Kadamba in south India, and Guri or Gurikaram in east central India.
The Kalam (Kadamba) tree figures in legends of Indian rulers and demons and one particular Kadamba tree in the city of Mathura is said to be the exact same tree from which Lord Krishna jumped into the Yamuna River to chastise the Kaliya serpent who was poisoning the river waters some 5,000 years ago.
Mitchell, C. P., S. E. Corbridge, S. L. Jewitt, A. K. Mahapatra, and S. Kumar.
2003. Non timber forest products: availability, production, consumption,
management and marketing in eastern India. DFID RNRRS Programme for Forestry
Project Reference No. R6916. Department for International Development, U.K.,
Next week's picture: Spiny-tailed Iguana
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