23 March 2007

Tamarind Tree

The Tamarind tree, which is very common all around Tiruvannamalai, has many superstitions surrounding it. Locals believe that the neighbourhood in which the Tamarind tree grows becomes unwholesome, and that it is unsafe to sleep under it owing to the acid the tree emits during the moisture of the night. Another superstition about the Tamarind is that few plants will survive beneath it and that it is harmful to both people and animals to sleep under it, because of the belief of the corrosive effect that fallen leaves from the tree has in damp weather.

Maybe because of the supposed health dangers attributed to the tree, there also exists the common village superstition that the Tamarind attracts ghosts. For this reason it is uncommon to see this tree planted on private land. It is more often seen on the sides of public roads, where it provides effective, cooling shade to travellers.

Regardless of the bad associations of the Tamarind, it is essential in Indian cooking, so the tree must never be too inaccessible for harvesting purposes. The tree tolerates a great diversity of soil types, from deep alluvial soil to rocky land and porous, limestone. It also withstands salt spray and can be planted close to the seashore. The Tamarind can be grown just about anywhere and also because of its deep root system, can withstand the hot summer days of South India very effectively.

1 comment:

Divyakka said...

Wow thanks for info, I did not know before of the bad superstitions of the tamarind tree!