After the long winter lull, the forest is finally humming along with the tones of hundreds of birds. The tales of forest spring are spiraling with the scent of jungle shrubs and trees. The flowers may or may not carry fragrance but their outstanding colors outshine the jungle greens and can seldom be overlooked. Silk cotton tree which blooms big five petal flowers in either bright red or orange colors, and the Palash (flame of the forest) that has small bright orange flowers are the common sight. From over generations now, small shrubs are collected by the locale from the community forest for their medicinal values and great taste.
Bakaino, China Berry Tree (Melia azadarach) is fodder for the animals and the leaves are used as pesticide after processing. It is a common tree that could be found in the plains and lowland Himalayas. Small purple and white flowers occur in a cluster at the end of the branches.
The Rosewood Tree, Sheesham (Dalbergia Sisso) is a protected tree of Nepal. During the months of March and April this tree blooms with small white and pale yellow flowers that grow in bunch which develop into flat pods with few seeds.
Curry Leaf Plant locally called Asari (Murraya koenigii) blooms atop with five petal white flowers. The plant is extensively used for flavor in Indian subcontinent and is a common sight in Chitwan National Park.
Bhati, Hill Glory Bower (Clerodendrum infortunatum) is a small jungle plant which has medicinal values. The branch is used as a toothbrush and the leaf juice can be handy at rescue for the immediate relief from regular tick infections. The locals also use the leaves to prepare a sweet flavored local wine for festive occasions. The shrub blooms with white and pink colored flowers that clusters atop. The flowers carry fragrance and found abundant in Chitwan.
The Kapok Tree also known as Semal or Silk Cotton Tree, stunningly blooms with orange or crimson broad petal flowers that hang individually on leafless branches. The Flowers are used as a one cure for all menstrual problems. The flowers are beautiful and are often picked by locals for decoration purposes.
Locally known as Rudilo, (Pogostemon benghalensis), the roots of this wild mint plant are used in medicine as cure for pneumonia. The flowers grow on the top of the shrub and smell like mint.
Mango, Amra or Mangifera indica is a popular tree and bears fruit during the summer time. The flowers color ranges from lime to light shades of green. The fruit will be ripe to be relished by June end.
These are just a few common trees and shrubs that are flowering in Chitwan National Park, attracting various nectar seeking birds, butterflies and insects which will then pollinate bringing to life more such trees and shrubs of great aesthetic and medicinal value for centuries to come!
Courtesy : Vineeta Yadav