The Devil's Tree

The Devil's Tree

2 mins

It was probably a couple of years back that I noticed it.

At the onset of winter.....a strong, pleasant smell wafting through my nostrils. I was eager to find the source .... The smell was everywhere....while I drove past the IISER back gate....reached Crystal Garden....the fragrance seemed to follow. Now I was a bit restless and decided to investigate. The smell was stronger in the evenings. So as I went for an evening stroll I noticed a particular patch emanating a very strong intoxicating fragrance!! As I looked up and noticed a tree blooming with small florets....I figured out finally!! It was the saptaparni tree!!

Read about the fact that it's seven whorled leaves are given to students at Vishwabharti (Rabindranath Tagore's University)as a symbol of simplicity and being connected with nature!!

It's scientific name is Alstonia scholaris. Alstonia derived from the name of a Botany reseacher from Edinburgh and scholaris probably because the wood of the tree is used to make slates for students.

The tribals call it the devil's tree because of the strong fragrances... but the smells attract night pollinators!! The nocturnal insects must be getting a high and enjoying the nectar.

The tree otherwise would have gone unnoticed, had it not been for the strong and intoxicating fragrance that it exudes. So now I wait for the tree to bear the florets and spread it's fragrance far and wide..........

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