Next time you visit the National Zoological Park, make it a point to see some of the rare trees it has.
For instance, whole of Delhi has just four Baobab trees, commonly known as Kalpavriksh (Adansonia digitata). The Delhi Zoo has three of them. It also has two of the only four remaining Winged Calabash or Gourd tree (Crecsentia alata) in Delhi.
Not just these two, the Delhi Zoo has at least 25 such trees that are rare in the national capital. They are part of the rich botanical wealth of more than 5,500 trees at the zoo. All this and much more have been compiled by the zoo administration in The Trees of National Zoological Park.
When the zoo was conceptualised in the 50s, trees from Indian (Asia), African, Australian and American continent were planted to suit the needs of the animals from these places. “Because of that, the zoo has a rich variety of flora with many rare trees,” said Zoo Director D.N. Singh.
The book tells us there are as many as 5,591 trees of 125 species, which includes four species of palm and seven species of bamboo, both not indigenous to Delhi. The book is a result of a two-year long project, meticulously carried out by Dr H.B. Naithani, retired botanist from the Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, and IFS Dr N.S. Bisht, former head of FRI’s Resource Survey Division apart from Garden Superintendent Ravinder Kumar.
Zoo administration has already put 800 nameplates on trees and further plans to put up display boards at different places
on the ring road inside the zoo. “Plantation of trees that are five or less in number would be taken on priority this monsoon,” he added.
The book lists the names of the species alphabetically.