Experts mull saving old wormwood tree

A big hollow has appeared on the trunk of the wormwood tree that is at least 95-feet tall.

Kozhikode: Scientists from the Kerala Forest Research Institute at Peechi arrived to inspect the centuries-old wormwood tree (kanjiram) located at Ilambassery Parambil at Chalappuram. The team considers roping in local residents to protect the tree that has been playing a key role in the ecosystem of the area. A fig tree, which is at least 20 years old, is also existing along with the kanjiram tree, with their roots entwined.

A big hollow has also appeared on the trunk of the wormwood tree that is at least 95-feet tall. If the owners of the tree allow, they are ready to provide technical assistance to protect the tree, said principal scientist Dr K V Muhammad Kunji.

Its branches can be pruned, and a platform could be constructed around the tree to protect it. The coexistence of wormwood and fig trees is very rare. A massive ecosystem too has developed close to the tree; it is better not to disrupt it which will also augur well for the environment, they said.

Though local residents claim that the tree is at least 1,000 years old, it is difficult to confirm the age of this tree, said scientists Dr V B Sreekumar and Dr G E Mallikarjuna Swami. Though the growth rings can be counted to ascertain the age, its trunk has a very complicated structure.

Environmental activists T Shobeendran and M A Johnson also accompanied the team.

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