The water-producing tree of Andhra

While the Indian Laurel is considered as an ornamental tree, grown usually by the roads and in gardens, its capacity to store and release water has sparked widespread interest.
A recent discovery in Andhra Pradesh, unveiled the unique ability of the Indian Laurel (Terminalia Tomentosa) tree of producing water, offering a respite or solution to water scarcity.
A recent discovery in Andhra Pradesh, unveiled the unique ability of the Indian Laurel (Terminalia Tomentosa) tree of producing water, offering a respite or solution to water scarcity.(Photo | DRRSPRAO

While trees have always been around producing oxygen and sustaining the earth, it comes as a great surprise when we talk about trees that can produce water. Nature has always awestruck humankind with its whims and fancies – a pretty poisonous flower there, a rainbow fish here, indomitable tardigrades, and now trees that produce water!

A recent discovery in Andhra Pradesh, unveiled the unique ability of the Indian Laurel (Terminalia Tomentosa) tree of producing water, offering a respite or solution to water scarcity. Moreover, the leaves of the tree have also been typically used in traditional medicine systems for their potential curing properties.

The Indian Laurel Fig is a species of fig tree, native to Southeast Asia and parts of the Western Pacific Islands and Australia. It is highly regarded for its dense canopy and smooth, grey bark. While it is considered as an ornamental tree, grown usually by the roads and in gardens, its capacity to store and release water has sparked widespread interest. Also found in the Alluri Sitharaman Raju district of Andhra Pradesh, in India, this tree was discovered to be storing water in its trunk during the rainy season and releasing it during the summer months. It absorbs excess water through its roots and stores it in its tissues and stands bare between November and February. While doubts of the taste and odour of the water thus produced hover, researchers have proved that it is safe to consume the same.

However, it does have a distinctive difference in its taste, owing to its absorption of water from the soil.The Indian Laurel tree was discovered in Papikonda National Park by officials of the Forest Department in Andhra Pradesh. Approximately 20 litres of water gushed out when they cut into the trunk of the tree, sparking interest among people and states that were reeling under an acute water crisis.

However, not all Indian Laurel trees store water in their trunks. Older trees usually store water and release it during the dry months. Trees that store water develop a lateral ridge, which is 2-3 feet long and half-a-foot thick on their trunks, about 5-6 feet above the ground. This lateral ridge, which is known as the wing, indicates the presence of water in the trunk. A fully grown tree can store approximately six litres of water. Besides, it was also discovered that the traditional Konda Reddi tribe of Andhra Pradesh use the tree as a source of water during the summer months. The tree thrives in environments, even during extreme weather conditions and drought.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com