Tags: nagalinga


Two unusual flowers

The usual place for a bud to form, and a flower to bloom, is at the tip of the twig, at the end of a branch....

But here are two trees which are very different.

Here's an Acacia Tree in Lalbagh (brought from Africa by the emissaries of Hyder and Tipu)...the flowers come straight out of the woody bark:

Acacia Flower, Lalbagh 11 Apr 07

And here's a tree which was very common in my childhood, but isn't any more, alas; it requires a large amount of space to grow, and takes a long time to grow, too. Very few people have the patience to plant it now.

Nagalinga Flowers Lalbagh 11 Apr 07

It is called the Cannonball Tree, because the fruits do look like cannonballs; but the flowers, which, again, come straight out of the trunk, and not from the tips of the twigs, are very fascinating to see. Hindus love this flower because it looks as if, inside the encircling five thick petals, there is a thousand-headed snake (Adisesha) protecting the Lingam, or the phallic representation of the god Shiva. Hence it is called the Nagalinga, and some Hindus use it to venerate Shiva, and others don't, becaue they say the flower is a temple in itself! The flower has a very delicate, evocative scent, and the gnarly trunk of the majestic large tree is a real beauty, and it is a great shade-giver. This particular tree had a lot of golden orioles in it.

Been very busy running about constantly, but was dying to post about these two trees, both of which I photographed in Lalbagh....!