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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

falling leaves and a beautiful bird !!

For those of us living in concrete jungle called ‘city’ – nature is totally new and away ! – some do not even get to see Sunlight and rays .. … seeing stars, moons and nature is galaxies away. But .. .. in some ways, feared Covid 19 provided some opportunity to look around. 

Nearer home is an Arasa maram – that has thick foliage – providing resting place for variety of birds and insects including Mynah, Parrots and many more. Though the pattern is not understood by me, suddenly all the leaves would drop and in a short span, green newer leaves would spring up ! – that is really beautiful.  This is no post on trees but a beautiful little bird found on a leafless tree (the reason for fall could be quite different) 

Ficus religiosa or sacred fig is a species of fig native to the Indian subcontinent  that belongs to Moraceae, the fig or mulberry family. It is also known as the bodhi tree, pippala tree,   peepal tree, or ashvattha tree.    The sacred fig is considered to have a religious significance in three major religions that originated on the Indian subcontinent, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.   This is the tree under which Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment.   

Almost all trees change from summer green to the brilliant fall shades of orange, yellow, red and brown. It’s fall. Soon, the leaves will fall to the ground  : Leaves fall off trees so that the trees can survive the winter.  The  word “fall” is a bit misleading. It implies that the trees are passive this time of year, when, in fact, they are actively “pushing” the leaves off their branches. 

Interestingly, autumn leaves are not simply blown off trees but are separated from the plants in a highly controlled process. As day length shortens and temperatures cool, hormones within the plant are activated to begin the abscission process. Chlorophyll production stops and the pigment starts to degrade, often revealing showy reds and yellows that were masked by green. The vessels that carry water to the leaf and sugars to the rest of the plant are closed off, and a layer of cells, known as the abscission layer, starts to grow between the leaf stalk and the twig holding it. These cells serve to slowly cut the leaf from the plant without leaving an open wound. As the leaves fall, the plant enters dormancy, saving its energy for the great bud burst of spring.


This winterization process is a must for trees’ survival. During that process, the trees lose a lot of water – so much water that when winter arrives, the trees are no longer able to get enough water to replace it.  Here is a beauty seen atop a no-leaf tree on the banks of the famed Kairavini PUshkarini, the temple tank of Sri Parthasarathi Swami thirukkovil.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th July 2022. 

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