January 19, 2022
Flora of Munnar and Western Ghats
Flora of Munnar and Western Ghats
There is a simple statement we folks at Blackberry Hills Retreat & Spa proudly re-iterate, time and again. A one liner that we speak from the depths of our heart. It has evolved out to be the bonding factor of team BBH that it has even made its way into majority of the very few sales pitches that we do before travel agents and prospective buyers from across the world.
It goes like this. “We at Blackberry Hills do not sell infrastructure. In fact, the cottages, the restaurant, the spa and all that we have artificially built here only compliments our core product”.
What is our core product?
Exotic views of endless Sahya Mountain ranges and the Shola forests and rainforests of Munnar, the smell of raw virgin earth, the crisp uncontaminated mountain air that you fill your lungs with, the warmth of the morning sun that makes your face glow, the tune of exotic birds that merrily flock to the estate, the clear night sky full of glittering stars, friendly staff that treats you like family….
To simply sum it up, we sell the ‘Magic of Mountain Gods’!
Now, I am no Botanist, but I wanted to take time in listing our few of the umpteen varieties of trees, bushes, shrubs, plants and grass that we tenderly adore and care for in our estate.
While we ensure that planting and afforestation is conducted by strictly abiding to the vision of creating a lush Shola vegetation, carefully researching and planting only local species, we have made it a point not to trouble the non-invasive foreign species that somehow crept into the eco-system over the years. After all, everything merges well with our core theme of ‘Co-Existence’.
- Spathodea: Often referred to as the ‘Flame of the Forest’, it is said that it was introduced to the land long ago by our erstwhile colonial rulers to fight against a malaria outbreak that happened sometime years ago. The crimson flowers that cover the entire tree making it look like a forest flame, attracts mosquitoes. Mosquitoes get stuck to the sap of the flower and dies.
- Vetiver Grass: Vetiver is a simple grass that is sacrosanct to Blackberry estate. It is found throughout the estate. It is the valiant hero who is silently on a war against soil erosion and helps to conserve the soil in its richest form by conserving all its nutrients. The roots of this wonder grass goes up to 15 feet down into the soil. The roots are medicinal as well as very aromatic. Do ask for a glass of Vetiver water when you are in the restaurant.
- Agave Sisal: Here is another brave soul who has withstood the gruesome tests that time callously presented including the devastating floods in the year 1924. Sisal was again introduced by the British as a plantation crop before tea. However, it failed for certain reasons. It is quite interesting to watch the flowering of Sisal. Sisal resembles huge green swords tied together at the base, will have a shoot similar to a flag post, growing from its centre. It grows up to about 20 feet and flowers at the top just like a flag. After the flowering, the flag post dies and falls along with the sisal making way for the subsequent generation.
- Indian Blackberry (Jamun): Blackberry estate is full of Jamun trees, fruits of which are a hot favourite for a wide variety of living beings. A variety of birds, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Chameleon etc., makes our estate home all thanks to Jamun trees. However, unlike the regular Indian Jamun, these fruits are very small and very sweet.
- Passion Fruit: We have planted these creepers, that give you one of the most delicious fruits full of nutrients, on about most of the trees. It is interesting to note that passion fruits can be taken as an antidepressant and as a tension reliever.
- Lichen – It is a moss like substance that is seen in most of the trees here. Lichen apparently survives only in places where the pollution is 0%. So here is a testimony right from nature!
- Jack fruit: The good old ‘Chakka’ as we call it in Malayalam.
- Tree tomato: Tamarillo, is a small tree or shrub in the flowering plant family Solanaceae. It is best known as the species that bears the tamarillo, an egg-shaped edible fruit.
- Tea Tree – This is where tea tree oil is extracted from. Take a few leaves in your hand, crus them and smell. It is the most invigorating fragrance!
- Hibiscus: Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. The genus is quite large, comprising several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world
- Cinnamon: The outer layer of the bark is separated and used as a very spice.
- Cardamom: Referred to as the queen of spices, we have our very own cardamom plantation
- Lemongrass, Saraca Asoka, Ferns, Tea, Coffee etc.
The forest and wildlife reserves in and around Munnar is beautiful and exotic. We engage in forest and wildlife conservation from our hearts. We solicit you to do your bit in conserving them.
All right, I am getting a bit tired from the writing. Now let me take leave rudely leaving out a number of other varieties of vegetation. After all, I do not wish to steal the thunder away. Do visit. Do witness.
Heading for a half an hour meditation session with Guru Vinu. Cheers!
Sanesh – Your Host
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