As the kids and I spend more and more time outdoors, we have seen the changes in the trees. With each season / month there is new life – leaves, flowers, fruits, sometimes shedding and getting a whole new bark.
The beauty of it all is that no two trees of the same species will flower at exactly the same time much like our children, but each one has its own pace to get there.
Very often we forget to look around us and see the real wonder of the space we live in. Going out with my children and the wonder they feel with our environment, something that we adults have long forgotten, lead us to learn more about it. So I started this trees of India for kids project on Instagram to document some of the largest, flowering trees in India that we often see but fail to notice.
A child’s first learning should be an understanding of what they see around them. So as we document these trees I’ll also be adding them to the blog. Here are the first 5 trees we have learnt.
Indian Wild Almond
We will begin with the Sterculia Foetida or Indian wild almond tree. Not to be confused with the badam tree, this one grows up to 30 mts tall or more. It’s leaves are set in patterns of 6 and the fruit (pictured here) has seeds around it’s circumference. The tree sheds almost all it’s leaves around December – January and grows new leaves only after March. It’s flowers are a dull red and appear at the top of the tree. The leaves are thick and we’ve done many paintings on them, the fruits are beautiful when dry and become a hard shell once the seeds have fallen. Swipe to see the tree and how we love the fallen leaves of this tree.
Do you have a wild almond /Java plum tree nearby that you may have missed? Go find out.
Please meet the gorgeously pink’ed Gliricidia Sepium or Mexican Lilac!
This tree has recently burst into light fluffy clouds of the palest pinks. The flowers on this tree bloom right at the top of it’s erect branches so it’s easy to miss them from the ground if not for the carpet of pink and purple along a 50 mt stretch of road around the tree.
Native to Mexico and central America. We have seen these trees dotting the Mumbai landscape as well. The pale brown bark can be toxic in certain forms but the flowers are considered edible when cooked.
It’s a great time to do trees of India for kids as the weather turns warm the blooms come bursting forth.
Can you imagine passing these bulb like buds on the road and not wondering what they are?
I can’t, but I generally pass up the urge to look it up because I’m either rushing somewhere or have something to do that’s more important. When you have kids and they ask questions that you wish you knew, you do look it up.
We found these flowers in the nature park where we went for a nature event last week. We couldn’t however bring back much, then we found it this morning in our own backyard – the Parkia Biglandulosa or badminton ball tree.
A native of west Africa, it is an important part of the local economy. In India however it’s only a neighborhood tree and we don’t really have much documented uses for the tree here. The big bulb you see here are the florets which fall off to reveal the hard bulb. The tiny leaves mean this huge tree is a part of the Touch-me-not family.
Here’s some trivia for you – the tiny touch-me-not and this tall tree are of the same family.
Saman / Rain Tree
In the trees of india for kids series, we present to you the fabulous Saman, Raintree or monkey pod. This is one of the largest trees in girth that I have seen. The trunk is very thick and the tree’s canopy is supposed to be one of the largest. The white and pink bushy flowers are not one single flower but many tiny ones. There are variations of red and creamy white as well.
The pods are supposed to be very sweet, and eaten by 🐒 hence the name monkey pod. We love how the leaves change colour and how serrated the trunk is of this tree. A piece of the bark here for sample.
Another trees of india for kids post so we combined the two. Here’s my 5 yo making a 1000 with today’s tree parts.
We have called this tree the Moon leaf tree for the longest time. We have used the leaves in crafting, the pods as paint stamps and the seeds to do loads of activities. This tree is called the Ear leaf Acacia. It’s a tall tree with a thick bark that is lined close together and crescent leaves that turn a beautiful yellow and then various shades of brown in the fall.
That yellow flower is the most elusive piece of this tree and I didn’t expect to get one for this, but we got lucky so here you are. The pods have green seeds that turn black with a bright yellow little tail.
We have seen parrots, bulbuls and mynah feeding on these pods very frequently. This one is native to Australasia but prevalent in India too. Do you have an earleaf acacia nearby that you may have missed? I’ll be putting more about this tree in my stories if you are interested.
These are just a few of the trees we cross everyday, and the kids love knowing their names. We’ll be back with a new list soon as we discover more of our trees.
Do let us know if you see any of these or would like to feature your favorite neighborhood tree here.