June 03, 2007

Mumbai abloom with rare palms

URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2007/06/03/stories/2007060300932200.htm

— Photo: PTI

A Talipot palm in Mumbai.

Mumbai: One of the world's largest palm trees, the Talipot, or Corypha umbraculifera, is abloom in different parts of Mumbai. They have flowered at the St. Francis d'Assissi Church compound in Borivali, Mazgaon, Goregaon, Vile Parle and at the Jijamata Udyan, the local zoo.

"This species... needs around 50 or 60 years... to bloom," plant taxonomist Dr. Suchandra Dutta said here on Saturday. "According to calculations... they produce about 12 million flowers, which contain more than 500 kg of seeds."

Once it bears fruits, the plant dies. It gradually uses up all the nutrient reserves accumulated in the trunk over the decades.

The Talipot is monocarpic, flowering only once when it is 30 to 80 years old. It takes about a year for the fruits to mature. There will be thousands of round yellow-green fruits, measuring to 3-4 cm in diameter. Each will have a single seed.

The flower is native to the Malabar coast and Sri Lanka, and is Sri Lanka's national tree. — PTI

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