Karnataka: Java olive trees at Almatti are a tourist attraction | Bengaluru News – Times of India


VIJAYAPURA: It is by no stretch, the famous Brindavan Gardens at the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam in Mandya district, but the stretch of the road between the Lal Bahadur Shastri Dam and a nearby fuel station in Almatti lined by 100 or so java olive, commonly known as ‘China Badami’, trees on either side has turned into a tourist attraction in its own right.
‘Sterculia Foetida’ is the botanical name of the java olive trees, the chief attraction of which are the rose-coloured nuts enshrouded in whorls of leafy branches. Tourists find the experience of a stroll on this road a most enlivening experience.

Range forest officer for Krishna Bhagya Nigam Ltd, Almatti, Mahesh Patil said seeds of the java olive trees were sown in 2000. “We wanted to attract visitors with trees of the same size and that is why we chose the java olive, seeds for which were brought from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh. Nearly 280 of them grew into massive trees, of which half of them are on the main road between the reservoir and the petrol bunk,” he said.

“After seeing they were growing well here, the forest department decided to start sowing seeds in Bengaluru, Belagavi, Bagalkot and Vijayapura districts. They help make the city prettier and improve the quality of air. There has been much demand for these trees in new layouts and townships in Almatti. Some of the trees have grown to a height of 35m. The branches and palmate leaves are the trees’ major attractions,” Patil told TOI.
He pointed out that java olive belongs to the ‘deciduous tree’ category, wherein the leaves drop off in winter, with only the nuts becoming visible. “The trees burst with leaves by February. It looks different in the winter and summer months. Its nuts are edible, they taste like groundnut or cashew nut,” Patil added.
GC Muttaladinni, a resident of Benal Punarvasati Kendra, said, although the seeds of the java olive trees were sown purely for ornamentation, they were sustaining a micro habitation. “They are the source of food for grey langoors and one can see many beehives here. The trees have no timber and have not been targetted by woodcutters. Those nuts that drop off, we use as fuel for our traditional chulhas,” he said.
Among the reasons why homeowners and those running shops do not opt for the trees is because the trees grow very tall and do not offer much shade.
Ashwini Muttaladinni, a class VII student at Benal, said there were two java olive plants at her home. “I have to clean the space twice a day since the tree sheds many leaves,” she said.
trees: As many as 140 trees welcome tourists at Almatti reservoir.

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Sagar Biswas

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