Genus: Prunus Cerasoides
Common name: Wild Himalayan Cherry tree / Padma / Panniyan / Sour Cherry tree / Panyyan / Padmaka / Dwarf Cherry / Bird Cherry
It was during a trip to Khabrar in Uttarakhand to my cousin’s cottage in late October one year, that I first spotted this magnificent tree. It was lush with surreal pink flowers that were being swarmed by bees of all size, shapes and colors. I spent a good one hour near this tree to click as many shots of it that I could. I had to be very mindful of the bees; they were so many that the resultant buzz was like a radio on a blink.
This is the Wild Himalayan Cherry tree that grows very well in the Garhwal and Uttarakhand regions of North India. Its called Panniyan / Panyyan and is actually a very sacred tree for the people of Uttarakhand. They dont cut down this tree for wood and use the stems for sticks to beat drums and thalis during the Nirankar puja drive away the evil. The wood is not burnt as fuel thought the leaves are used for cattle fodder. The leaves are also inserted in garlands used for auspicious occasions. The twigs are also used in erecting the wedding mandap where the ceremony is performed.
The bark of this tree is used in varied ways as it has a lot of curative properties. Its used to make a hair massage oil and the paste is known to be beneficial in neuralgia. An amulet made out of the bark of the tree is tied to the arm or waist of a child to help them heal from a disease.
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This Sour Cherry tree is a hot favorite of the bees for the pollen and nectar and since it blooms in the colder months, its the only one around to sustain them. The gum oozing out of the trunk and branches is lapped up as honeydew by the bees.
The fruit is quite astringent and though it can be eaten raw, it finds more favor in being cooked in sauces and preserves. The gum is also edible and the seeds are often used as beads to make pretty necklaces.
I am just very grateful for a sighting of this gorgeous tree and that too in all its glory. I don’t think the pictures I have shared do it any justice. Its magnificence is to be seen to be believed. I am hoping to see it again someday very soon.
Thursday Tree Love is a fabulous tree hop by the lovely Parul K Thakur who opens the blog hop every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. So if you have a gorgeous tree to share with us, please link up on her post.
Meantime you can have a look at the tree I shared last fortnight here