Characteristics of Cadamba Tree (Neolamarckia cadamba) in the Wild

Neolamarckia cadamba
Cadamba or Kadam (Neolamarckia cadamba) is a tropical tree native to South and Southeast Asia (South China, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia). The tree has round orange flowers. Trees are often grown as ornamental plants and for the manufacture of wood and paper. The cadamba tree is highly respected by Buddhists and Hindus.

In Indonesia this tree is known as Jabon, Kelampayan, Empayang, or Worotua. Meanwhile in English it is called Burflower-tree, Iaran, and Leichhardt pine.

STORY IN RELIGION
Cadamba is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana. In North India, it is associated with Krishna while in the south it is known as the “Parvati tree”. Radha and Krishna are supposed to be playing their love game under the shade of a kind and fragrant Cadamba tree. In the Sangam period of Tamil Nadu, Murugan of Tirupparankundram Bukit Madurai was said to be the center of nature worship. He is spear-shaped under the Cadamba tree.

The Cadamba tree is also associated with a tree god called Kadambariyamman. Cadamba, which is considered the sthalavruksham (“tree of the place”) of the city which is also known as Kadambavanam (Cadamba forest) and is in Amman’s Meenakshi Temple. Cadamba’s withered remains are also stored there.

In Theravada Buddhism, the Cadamba tree is where Buddha Sumedha attained enlightenment.

 
The tree is one of the religious trees beside the Bodhi Tree (Ficus religiosa) and Water Jasmine (Wrightia religiosa).

SYMBOLISM
The Cadamba flower is the emblem of the Athmallik State, one of the princely states of India during the British Raj period.

Cadamba lent its name to the Cadamba dynasty who ruled from Banavasi in what is now the state of Karnataka from 345 AD to 525 AD, according to the Talagunda inscription of 450 AD. The Kadamba tree was considered a sacred tree by the Kadamba dynasty.

According to Hindu tradition, 27 nakshatras, consisting of 12 Houses (Rasis) and nine planets, are specifically represented by 27 trees, one for each star. The cadamba tree is said to represent Shatabhisha, roughly the same as Aquarii.

 

Characteristics of Cadamba Leaf

Neolamarckia cadamba Leaf
Source: wikimedia.org

The leaves are simple in shape and have a length between 15-35 cm.

 

Characteristics of Cadamba Flower

Neolamarckia cadamba Flower
Source: flickr.com/Kristopher Kupsch

The cadamba flowers have a sweet fragrant aroma, orange, appear in dense clusters, and the globular head has a diameter of about 5.5 cm.

 

Characteristics of Cadamba Fruit

Neolamarckia cadamba Fruit
Source: flickr.com/Dinesh Valke

The fruit appears in small fleshy capsules that are packed close together, are yellow to orange in color, fleshy, and contain about 8000 seeds. When ripe, the fruit divides, releasing the seeds, which are then scattered by wind or rain.

 

Characteristics of Cadamba Tree

Neolamarckia cadamba Tree
Source: shobhavkamath.blogspot.com

Adult cadamba trees can grow up to 45 meters tall. It is a large tree with a wide crown and a straight cylindrical trunk. It is fast-growing, with branches that spread widely and grow rapidly in the first 6-8 years. The trunks of mature trees are usually 1-1.6 meters in diameter.

 

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