Friday, January 23, 2009

Prosopis Juliflora - Fuel Wood Wonder!

I was introduced to a tree in my early childhood by its thorn! The tree is Prosopis juliflora. Elders called its thorn as Crow’s thorn (‘Kakka mual’ in Tamil) and cautioned me not to get a prick on foot with it, as it will lead to a painful abscess. It was so named as crows collect these dried greyish black thorns from the grounds near the tree and use it to build their nests.
Prosopis juliflora (‘Veali Karuvealai’ in Tamil) is an evergreen tree thriving well in any soil and is drought resistant. It appears withered only when it rains, as it folds and closes all its leaves then! Its roots go deeper than other tree roots – up to 175 feet! After cutting down to its roots tip I found a tree pushing up its fresh shoot as if it is a new tree within a month – there had been lying a much bigger main root of that tree uncut! The tree is ubiquitous here in South India and other countries like Australia. But peculiarly it is not seen in North India! Its seeds germinate quickly after monsoon rains. So, to check its invasion in farm lands, it must be pulled out and dried in sunlight as soon as it appears above the ground.
Its main use now is as a fuel, either after drying or after turning into charcoal by burning partially in a mud covered heap of its twigs. It was used then as live fencing in farms in the past and hence its Tamil name. It is said that it was introduced into Tamil Nadu, South India with the efforts taken by Honorable K.Kamaraj then Chief Minister to boost the livelihood of poor people. Another use of it: its produce, the pods are eagerly eaten by goats, which are fed by their keepers to fatten them and get tasty flesh!
This tree that grows on wastelands and offers excellent fuel wood at no cost is a wonder tree in every aspect!

1 comment:

h e m a n t h said...

Mr.Cosmos, it's not just a 'wonder tree'. Rather, it's a killer-tree! The thorn-prick-pains of childhood still lingers!

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