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Unique tree on IIT Kharagpur campus attracts botanists from across country

Kolkata: A unique tree on the campus of IIT Kharagpur is now the centre of attraction of botanists all over the country because of its rarity.

Botanist Barnali Chakrabarti has stumbled upon a unique 5 in 1 tree. Though the main tree is Bakul (Mimusops), four other varieties like Dumur (Ficus), Neem (Azadirachta), Pipal and Sheora (Streblus) have emerged from certain joints of the same tree.

"A blend of two varieties like Assattha (Sacred Fig) emerging from banyan tree or vice-versa or Banyan or Assattha erupting from a Simul tree is not uncommon. But 5 in 1 tree is usually unheard of," Chakrabarti said.

According to her, the main tree is Bakul (Mimusops). A few feet above the ground from the main stem, two more major trees Dumur (Ficus) and Neem (Azadirachta) have grown as if they are tearing open the Bakul tree stem and coming out. Later, Pipal and Sheora (Streblus) have erupted from the very same

joint at the top.

The main Bakul Tree is more than 20 years old, while Dumur and Neem too is more than 10 years old. The last two varieties are relatively new. "There are hundreds of trees on the campus and many of them are unique but this is possibly the most unique one that I have seen," Chakrabarti said.

The Horticulture section has already enclosed the tree to protect it and a board listing out the names of all the species have been put.

"A variety of birds throng the IIT KGP campus because of the greenery all around. When a bird feeds on fruits, it sometimes carries the seeds in its beak or the seeds get stuck to its body parts. As it perches from one tree to another, such a phenomenon may occur." Chakrabarti added.

Barnali Chakrabarti has been promoting green activism on the campus for the past few years. The institute has planted some 3,000 tress on the campus in the last three years and is geared up to plant more trees as soon as monsoon sets in full swing.

It may be mentioned that the students of IIT Kharagpur have formed a social group to spread the message of tree conservation and planting trees with deep roots that don't get uprooted

during storms.

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