Given Delhi's air pollution, it's hard to believe that it is home to some of the most majestic trees. These trees lend the national capital a certain je ne sais quoi -– be it the gorgeous golden-yellow Amaltas that blooms during the summer, or the fiery red Palash flowers that carpet Delhi’s roads in spring.
Unfortunately, these native trees have been slowly diminishing over time due to several reasons, such as lack of water, lack of space, and rapid urbanisation.
"Native trees are a result of millions of years of evolution. They should get equal importance in conservation as a Tiger, Rhino or the Qutab Minar,” says Sohail Madan, centre Manager, CEC Delhi.
To restore these trees, the Conservation Education Centre of Delhi, in collaboration with Delhi, I Love You (a 30-month long social movement started by a group of friends who share their love for the city) started a Delhi Seed Bank Project last month where in they would plant saplings of 22 native trees in a 3-acre plot in Asola Forest.
The project that shall continue for 18 months, shall see over 1,000 trees planted, and is being mentored by Indian filmaker Pradip Krishen, who is also a noted environmentalist and the author of 'Trees Of Delhi'. "In most other countries they don’t want thirsty trees because water is a valuable resource. Water is going to become much more valuable resource in the years to come. You cannot afford to plant trees in the city or parks that are thirsty. All the trees that are growing Buddha Jayanti Park today, for which permanent watering is needed, you going to have to let them go. You cannot afford to keep watering them," says Krishen.
The project shall also feature walks this month as well as in August with volunteers and schools to collect more seeds of native trees in the forest and around Central Ridge (one can keep a lookout for more updates here). In three months time, when the first saplings make their presence felt, they will be planted in Jal Board and MCD (Municipal Corporation Of Delhi) south properties, and shall be made available to the public to plant in/ around their homes.
Here are 22 of Delhi's most beautiful native trees (captured by Pradip Krishen) that need your help.
- Ber - Ziziphus MauritianaPradip Krishen
- Peelu - Salvadora PersicaPradip Krishen
- Ronjh - Acacia LeucophloeaPradip Krishen
- Amaltas - Cassia FistulaPradip Krishen
- Shahtoot/ Mulberry - Morus AlbaPradip Krishen
- Kareel - Capparis DeciduaPradip Krishen
- Bistendu - Diospyros CordifoliaPradip Krishen
- Khejdi - Prosopis CinerariaPradip Krishen
- Desi Babool - Acacia NiloticaPradip Krishen
- Roheda - Tecomella UndulataPradip Krishen
- Sonjna- Moringa ConcanensisPradip Krishen
- Bael Patra - Aegle MarmelosPradip Krishen
- Doodhi - Wrightia TinctoriaPradip Krishen
- Kosam - Schleichera OleosaPradip Krishen
- Kaim - Mitragyna ParvifloraPradip Krishen
- Palash - Butea MonospermaPradip Krishen
- Dhau - Acacia NiloticaPradip Krishen
- Siris (Black) - Albizia AmaraPradip Krishen
- Jhinjheri - Bauhinia RacemosPradip Krishen
- Siris (White) - Albizia LebbeckPradip Krishen
- Pilkhan - Ficus VirensPradip Krishen
- Barna - Crataeva AdansoniiPradip Krishen