Thursday, May 23, 2013

Trip Report: Miscellany in Delhi

I got to spend a week in New Delhi, India in April.  I didn't have a lot of free time outside of my work obligations, but I spotted some interesting plants here and there.  The part of town I was in was very green, with trees everywhere.  Even still, with India being highly vegetarian, I probably ate more plants than I saw.

My hotel had some nice palm trees on the grounds.  When I think of India palm trees aren't the first plants that come to mind - especially far from the coast.  However, I know very little about Indian flora.

fishtail palm
Caryota urens, Fishtail Palm

Phoenix roebellini growing in a container.  Notice the white flowers.

palm inflorescence
Close-up of Phoenix roebellini flowers.

There was a beautiful lotus pond at the hotel.  In the morning and early afternoon the flowers were open.  By the heat of the afternoon they would close.

Lotus pond
Lotus pond at the hotel

My hotel also had  a collection of bonsai trees.

bonsai Ficus
Ficus bonsai at my hotel

I walked about a mile from the hotel to the Lodhi Gardens.  Along the way I passed the India Islamic Cultural Centre, where there was a nice aroid (maybe Epipremnum) growing on the trunk of a deceased tree.

Probably an Epipremnum

The Lodhi Gardens is a public park where a lot of families and friends congregate to just enjoy the outdoors.  Inside the gardens are several tombs and a mosque, beautiful old buildings dating back to the 1400s.

Lodhi Gardens
Tombs in the Lodhi Gardens

Ficus religiosa
A tenacious Ficus religiosa taking root in the cracks of an old tomb. Hopefully someone will yank it out before it turns this tomb into a pile of rocks.

Lodhi Gardens
Sunset at the Lodhi Gardens

I wandered around the gardens until sunset, taking photos and enjoying the hot weather.

Lodhi Gardens
Beautiful Cannas in front of a beautiful tomb

Bamboo stand
Stands of bamboo

Agave babies
Agave plants forming on the bloom stalk of a parent plant

Many of the trees in the park were tagged with their species names, including this Cinnamomum camphora.

Cinnamomum tree
Cinnamomum camphora at Lodhi Gardens

There were many interesting birds in the park and a large placard that identified some of them.  I identified Parakeets, Common Mynah, and House Crow.

bird identification chart
Placard of birds that can be found in the gardens

House Crow - Corvus splendens
House crow (Corvus splendens)

Within the grounds of Lodhi Gardens is the "National Bonsai Park." Apparently it closes earlier in the day, so I wasn't able to go inside.

National Bonsai Park at Lodhi Gardens

Down the street from Lodhi Gardens is the Safdarjung Tomb, which is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture.  It looks a bit like the Taj Mahal.  On the grounds was a beautiful fl0wering tree native to Madagascar.

Safdarjang tomb
Safdarjung Tomb in Delhi

Delonix regia
Beautiful flowers of Delonix regia, a Madagascan native.

On the walk back to the hotel I passed a tree with interesting flowers hanging from inflorescences under the canopy at eye level.  It was dusk and my camera battery was dead, so I had to use my phone camera with flash, which resulted in a less than stellar picture.

Kigelia africana
Flowers of Kigelia africana

Some friends helped me identify this tree as Kigelia africana, the Sausage Tree.  I have seen these trees at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, with their large seed pods that look like sausages, but I had not seen them in bloom before.

I really enjoyed my limited leisure time in Delhi and I hope to get to visit India again some day.

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