Growing Kadamba – Lord Krishna’s favourite tree
About Kadamba tree:
The Scientific name of Kadamba is Neolamarckia cadamba; however more popular synonym is Anthocephalus cadamba. It belongs to Rubiaceae family. The Kadamba tree is indigenous to hotter parts of India. It is known by numerous other names throughout India.
Kadamba is a large, handsome tree that can grow more than 10 m tall. It has a spreading crown and drooping branches. The leaves are large, oblong, thick, dark and shining. The tree flowers during the rainy season. The ball like flowers are sweet scented. The round balls of fruits along with seeds, rest on the tree for a long time after flowering and look very pretty. Birds and bats like the pleasantly acidic fruits.
Kadamba and Lord Krishna:
Kadamba is mentioned in most of the Indian mythological and historical literature. The tree is associated with Lord Krishna. Radha and Krishna are supposed to have conducted their love play in the hospitable and sweet-scented shade of the Kadamba. In his younger days, Krishna performed most of his famous ‘Raas-Lila’ and also played his mesmerizing flute (Bansuri) under this particular tree.
Growing tips for Kadamba tree:
The tree is propagated by seed sowing. In the first year, seeds are sown in grow bags in the rainy season. After germination, seedlings are transplanted to a permanent location in the next year’s monsoon. A well-drained soil and humid climate are best for its growth. The tree proliferates fast. It is planted in large grooves or on roadsides. Kadamba tree is highly susceptible to frost, and even fully grown trees are killed to ground level by the frost.
Uses of Kadamba Tree:
- The tree is used as a medicinal plant in Ayurveda. It has been known to cure many diseases. Mainly, the extract prepared from the bark and leaves is crucial.
- It is planted as an evergreen ornamental tree.
- It is one of the Nakshatra trees, in the astral garden. Read more about Astral garden (Nakshatra Udyan)
- Apart from planting in parks, the tree is also used for timber and paper-making.
- Kadamba flowers are an important raw material in the production of ‘attar’, which is an Indian perfume.
A lot of Sanskrit and Hindi poetry is woven around this tree. Following is the latest one on Lord Krishna:
यह कदंब का पेड़ अगर माँ होता यमुना तीरे
मैं भी उस पर बैठ कन्हैया बनता धीरे–धीरे।
ले देतीं यदि मुझे बाँसुरी तुम दो पैसे वाली
किसी तरह नीची हो जाती यह कदंब की डाली।
तुम्हें नहीं कुछ कहता पर मैं चुपके–चुपके आता
उस नीची डाली से अम्मा ऊँचे पर चढ़ जाता।
वहीं बैठ फिर बड़े मज़े से मैं बाँसुरी बजाता
अम्मा–अम्मा कह वंशी के स्वर में तुम्हे बुलाता।
बहुत बुलाने पर भी माँ जब नहीं उतर कर आता
माँ, तब माँ का हृदय तुम्हारा बहुत विकल हो जाता।
तुम आँचल फैला कर अम्माँ वहीं पेड़ के नीचे
ईश्वर से कुछ विनती करतीं बैठी आँखें मीचे।
तुम्हें ध्यान में लगी देख मैं धीरे–धीरे आता
और तुम्हारे फैले आँचल के नीचे छिप जाता।
तुम घबरा कर आँख खोलतीं, पर माँ खुश हो जाती
जब अपने मुन्ना राजा को गोदी में ही पातीं।
इसी तरह कुछ खेला करते हम–तुम धीरे–धीरे
यह कदंब का पेड़ अगर माँ होता यमुना तीरे।
—सुभद्रा कुमारी चौहान