Waras..The One who takes Care!

Waras (Heterophragma Quadriloculare/वारस) is an important native species of India. A large deciduous tree which is noticeably attractive when in bloom.

Its flowers occur in terminal panicles, which are densely velvet covered. They are rose-tinged white in colour and fragrant. Flowering occurs during the beginning of the hot season. The flowers have a characteristic pleasant smell which attracts bees & insects. The tree is exclusively pollinated at night by large Carpenter bees. Being highly mobile, these bees cover long distances in the search of the tree.

Leaves are compound, pinnate & crowded near the end of branches, giving dense shade. Waras harbor numbers of insects and birds. Due to its height and dense leaves, numerous birds prefer this tree as nesting sight. Hence bird-lovers prefer this tree!

Being attractive, large and dense foliage, the tree once used to be commonly planted along highways with Banyan, Peepal, Neem etc. Guess our forefathers were more intellectual than us as they preferred the indigenous species along highways. This way, travelers could enjoy the traveling and could use the shade for rest. Hence this tree is highly recommended for plantation along highways. The tree is propagated by seeds.

It is interesting to note that generally, deciduous trees shade leaves in summer. But Waras shade its leaves somewhat in Rainy season and is laden with leaves during summer; giving dense shade when it needs the most.

Waras provide green mulch, needed for reclamation of eroded lands. It also prevents soil erosion. Leaves can be used as fodder. The tree is believed to be used for treating skin diseases. It is also supposed to possess antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Waras is a Marathi word which also means ‘belongs to’ or ‘the one who takes care’. Waras literally takes care not only of birds , bees, insects & humans, but of our environment also. May be that’s why the tree has no name in english; for there is no single word in english describing the tree..! ;-) 

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