Trick or Tree-t

MEET THE HUMBLE DATE PALM – PHOENIX SYLVESTRIS

This is a story of a tree that went from “rags to riches”                                                                                                                                                                        

Vishnupriya Hathwar

In this article, I would like to share the story of Phoenix sylvestris aka the Date Palm. Now many of us will be wondering – “what’s so special about this tree?” Let me tell you about the Date Palm at the Puttenahalli Lake.

There is a single Date Palm tree on an island in the middle of the Puttenahalli Lake. This tree is a legend today and inspires all the people who help in taking care of the lake premises, but this was not so always. This is a story of a tree that went from “rags to riches”.

This palm tree has been there since anyone can remember. No one knows when it came, how it came or where it came from. We can only imagine that it was a seed that was dropped off by a bird or a mammal that was passing by. 

The lake has changed from being a lake to becoming dry, from marshland back to being a lake. Yet this tree is the only one that has remained standing throughout. “Phoenix” (as I would call it) has some amazing adaptability powers which have made it the sole survivor at the lake.

First power of adaptability is that Phoenix adjusts to all types of climatic conditions. It has thin leaves and thin roots that can adapt to most of the soil types, water conditions and light conditions. 

Second power of adaptability is the thick scale like bark which allows phoenix to live happily in windy, sunny as well as rainy conditions. 

Another power phoenix shows is that the leaves are thin and spikey throughout. These leaves appear like a crown on its head, too thorny to be touched. For this reason, many birds and reptiles prefer to hide in it or even make their nests. The fruits of the date palm are a delicacy for all living beings. Humans make some amazing jaggery out of the fruits!

These characteristic features of Phoenix sylvestris – of being a survivor, of protecting other living beings under its crown, contributing to society in its own way and yet being humble, is what makes the people working for the lake stand tall and proud. This is what one single tree teaches us. Imagine what the rest of Nature can teach us!

Editor’s note: This sole survivor, the wild date palm, is the logo of PNLIT.