Efforts on to get heritage status for jackfruit tree
A jackfruit tree, aged around 250, located 40 km from Bengaluru, is believed to be State’s oldest tree of this variety and one of the oldest in the country. The tree at Janagere village in Magadi taluk is now in the limelight as agricultural and horticultural scientists are striving to get “heritage tree” status for it.
The tree has a massive canopy. With a height of 19.5 m and a trunk girth of 6.5 m, it is visible from a long distance to visitors who come to this village during summer to taste its fruits.
Protected by all
Ravish J.R., owner of the tree, has fenced it for protection. Villagers say that he is the 10th generation owner of the tree that has been protected not only by the family of owners, but also by the community.
What makes this tree special is not just its age but also taste of its fruits and the ability of the tree to continuously bear a big number of quality fruits.
“The tree yields 250 to 300 fruits a year ranging between 8 kg and 20 kg. Each fruit fetches an income of ₹300 to ₹500 depending upon the size,” says K. Narayana Gowda, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bengaluru, who is part of a four-member study team that inspected the tree to assess its characteristics scientifically in a bid to get it heritage status.
The team that included noted horticultural scientist Hittalmani and scientist-turned nursery entrepreneur Karianna besides Vikas, an assistant professor from Krishi Vigyana Kendra located at Magadi, scientifically assessed different characteristics of the tree as well as fruits.
Seedlings and grafts
The tree has contributed lakhs of seedlings and grafts. The then Horticultural Director M.H. Mari Gowda himself took the initiative of multiplying the seedlings of Janagere jackfruit in the 1960s itself, says Dr. Narayana Gowda.
The scientists have taken up the proposal with the Central authorities along with scientific data for getting heritage status for the tree.
The villagers say that Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, who ruled the erstwhile Mysore kingdom in the first half of the 20th century, was particularly impressed by the special qualities and exquisite taste of Janagere jackfruit. These fruits were also being sent occasionally to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, they claim.
Some villagers believe that it may have been one of the seedling progenies of early introduction of jackfruit in this area by the then Bengaluru chieftain Kempe Gowda who ruled in 16th century and also hailed from this taluk. However, this is not scientifically or historically validated.