Floral spectrum... around palace

Floral spectrum... around palace

Mysore the legendary city is famous for its beautiful palaces, heritage, salubrious climate and rich flora and fauna. 

Jacaranda mimosifolia near Palace. Photos by authorThere are many  floral hotspots on tank bunds like Kukkarahalli tank, Karanji lake, Zoo, Chamundi Hills and innumerable gardens.  Even in the heart of the city one can find the  beautiful trees and handsome shrubs.  One such  area is  around the  magnificent  palace. It is  the ‘Green belt’ around the  palace housing beautiful gardens and  thickets of  trees.  

It is one of the  hotspots of floral biodiversity in Mysore and rich in  tree population. It acts as a buffer zone between the palace and the busy roads, insulating  the palace from the dust and noise pollution, as well. 

A walk around the  area unravels the mystic beauty of the floral display, a real treat to the eyes of the passersby  at the beginning of the “Spring Season.”  Spring is an intermediate seasonal phase in between winter and summer. It signifies the emergence of new life. The trees with new attire of  foliage and colourful blooms present a floral spectrum in this floral hot spot.   In fact the flowering trees announce the arrival of  the spring season .

With the winter blooms  like Pink trumpet tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa), Golden showers (Tabebuia guayacan) , Mexican lilac (Gliricidia sepium),  Tree jasmine or Aakasha mallige (Millingtonia hortensis) signing off their show, the early bloomers provide an outstanding floral and foliage display  at the beginning of the Spring. 

The common rain tree (Samanea saman)  copper pod (Peltophorum pterocarpum) and  Honge (Pongamia pinnata) are already in flowering and catch the  attention of the passers by. But the more delightful to watch are some of the exotic and native trees.  Most  attractive is the Jacaranda tree  (Jacaranda mimosifolia)   near the main  gate facing the East.  It is  a beautiful sight to watch the majestic tree with its full violet bloom hiding behind the fort and providing a colourful background to one of the gopurams. 

The jacaranda tree, native to North America, is a tropical beauty with its clusters of fragrant, purple, trumpet-shaped blooms. Near the Harding circle, inside the  garden nursery is the  beautiful rose apple (Eugenia  jambos ), a small tree cheers up with its light cream flowers and the edible fruits.   Curzon park adjascent to the bus stand  has many surprises  during the early spring. 

The magnificent  ‘Red cotton tree or the Kempu booraga’ (Bombax ceiba), inside the park,  attracts  the visitors with its gigantic size and the heritage tag.  The most attractive tree  is the Cannon ball tree or Nagalingana pushpa  (Couropita guianensis  ), a large deciduous tropical tree indigenous to the Amazon rainforests, with large showy flowers, curiously shaped in the  form of ‘Shivalinga’ and  cannon like fruits.  

Borne on  long woody racemes,  growing from the main stems the flowers  emit peculiar  strong fragrance.   

These trees are grown extensively in Shiva temples in India and Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, Thailand and other Buddhist countries.  Furthermore, nearby lonely ‘ Travellers’ palm’( Ravenala madagascariensis ) with banana like leaves  arranged in the form of a  flat fan shaped  head to the tree attracts every one visiting the park.  

Its white flowers are quite distinctive and most beautiful.  Interspersed in the  palace gardens (outside palace)  on the western side facing  Sayyaji Rao road   are the Horse Cassias and  Plumerias. 

True to its name  ‘Cassia grandis’ (horse cassia or pink showers) its  grandeur lies in the outstanding  floral sprays of  coral peach red , scattered along the branches  in loose clusters along with  remnants of the  black pods of the previous season.   

Of course one cannot forget the beauty of  Plumerias of different hues ( white, pink, yellows)  with mild fragrance.  Unforgettable  is the  Tabebuia aurea ( Caribbean trumpet tree)   with its outstanding flower display  of trumpet shaped golden  flowers.  

Added attraction is the sight of  plenty of birds  perching  on the trees and their chirping is music to the ears of  a naturalist. 

To sign off, more surprises are in store in the days to come. For a visitor to  the palace and its environs floral spectrum is a bonus; for the passers by a visual treat in the hot sun.    

Former dy director (scientist), CSIR, CLRI, Chennai   

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