Following are some of the best fast-growing shade trees in India :
1. Albizzia lebbek (Siris):It is a handsome, fast-growing and spreading tree, that reaches up to a height of 20-25 m. The tree is somewhat resistant to drought. It is a good alternative plant for a traditional tree with similar appearance called Rain Tree (Samanea saman)
2. Anthocephalus cadamba (Kadamba):The tree is associated with Lord Krishna. A large 10 m tall tree with spreading crown and drooping branches. The ball-like flowers are sweet scented. This rapidly growing tree is planted in large groves or on the roadside. It is highly susceptible to frost.
3. Azadirachta indica (Neem):It is a large evergreen tree (13-16 m) with elegant appearance. It is hardy and grows well in saline soil and dry conditions. This modern Indian medicinal & air purifying plant is recommended as an avenue tree for highways.
4. Casuarina equisetifolia (Whistling tree):The tree attains a considerable height, 20 m or more, and is not planted in a small garden. This tree is usually planted as wind barrier tree on beaches and seashores. “The soft sighing of the air through its many slender twigs is a pleasant sound, reminiscent of the noise of the sea on a distant shore’- Benthall. Click here to buy Casuarina seeds online in India.
Click here to buy Casuarina seeds online in India.
5. Ficus religiosa (Pipal):This Ficus is a large tree (30 m tall) with fluttering heart shaped leaves terminating in a long tapering point. In April, the old leaves shed, and dark-red coloured young leaves appear giving the plant and ornamental look. It is a sacred tree to the Hindus and Buddhists. It is suitable for planting as a specimen in the garden just like the great Indian Banyan tree, Ficus benghalensis. Read more about Banyan tree in National plants of India blog.
6. Kigelia pinnata (Sausage tree):The medium to large sized (7-16 m) evergreen, the fast spreading tree has a globular appearance and a dense branching system. The flowers look unusual, and fruits are big, heavy and sausage shaped. This is a good foliage tree for parks and Avenue planting. Read about unusual looking plants.
7. Mimusops elengi (Bakul):It is a medium sized (15 m tall) evergreen tree with a dense crown of dark green shining foliage. The white, very fragrant drooping flowers are borne in clusters twice a year and remain hidden in the leaves. A favourite tree of Indian gardeners, suitable for planting in a large lawn or along the narrow roads.
8. Pongamia pinnata (Karanj):A medium tall (10-15 m) tree with bright green, glossy leaves. The tree, when laden with lilac coloured flowers, looks beautiful in summers. This is a fast growing tree suitable for roadside avenues & public places for shade and ornamental purpose.
9. Putranjiva roxburghii (Child-life-tree):A moderate sized evergreen tree (10 m tall) with uniform spreading habit. The dense foliage is beautiful, dark green, and gives the plant a sad look. It is a superb avenue tree and can be planted in public places as a shade tree too.
10. Terminalia arjuna (Arjun):
A large (20-25 m tall), evergreen shade tree, commonly planted on the roadside. In Indian mythology, ‘Arjun’ is supposed to be Sita’s favourite tree. Native to India, the tree attracts lots of attention because of its association with religion & its many medicinal uses.
Read more about the systematic plantation of trees in ‘ Bioaesthetic planning’.
‘Someone is sitting in a shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.’