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Updated May 18th, 2013, 02:37 PM IST

Exotic tree species discovered at Kodaikanal – Deccan Chronicle

Posted on May 14th, 2013 at 06:37 PM and last modified on May 18th, 2013 at 2:37 pm.

An ongoing survey at the sprawling Bryant Park in Kodaikanal has revealed that it is home to exotic tree species such as camphor, silver maple and blue gum.

Led by horticulture deputy director S. Raja Mohamed, a team of officials has undertaken a survey of locating, identifying and naming exotic tree varieties in the 20.5 acre-botanical garden planned and built by English forest officer H.D. Bryant in 1900 and named after him.


Mr Mohamed said the survey has brought to light the existence of camphor, silver maple, creeping juniper, alnus tress and blue gum trees in the park for more than 50 years. Some of the exotic varieties had been planted by Bryant himself while creating the park.

Two camphor trees imported from China have been identified and they have been in the park for the last 75 years. “A large evergreen tree with 20-30 m in height was identified by the distinctive odour of a crushed leaf,” he says.

The park has one Acre saccharinum, commonly known as silver maple, imported from Japan, and it is 60 years old. Often planted as an ornamental tree because of its rapid growth and ease of propagation and transplanting, its seeds are food source for squirrels, chipmunks and birds and its trunk tends to produce cavities which can shelter squirrels, owls and woodpeckers.

Also found is a Juniperus horizontalis, whose common name is creeping juniper or creeping cedar, a low-growing shrubby juniper, native to North America. Believed to have been imported from Japan, the tree is being maintained in the park for the past 35 years, the horticulture officer informed.

An Alnus nepalensis, a multipurpose alder tree found in the subtropical highlands of the Himalayas, has been growing in the park for over 60 years now while one southern blue gum or blue gum, an evergreen tree, one of the most widely cultivated trees native to Australia, has its presence in the park for 50 years.

Mr Mohamed says, “All these exotic varieties have been in the park for several decades now but have gone unnoticed over the years. With the flower show at Bryant Park scheduled for two days from May 19 as part of 10-day summer festival in Kodaikanal, we initiated the survey. The naming of these species is on and no doubt they would be an added attraction to the visitors.”

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