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I guess I can no longer call the tree Anamika or the nameless one. I am talking of the tree which has figured in at least two of my earlier posts. It stands outside my window, but is rooted in my neighbor’s yard. With branches reaching out to touch our terrace wall, and tons of dried leaves littering our yard, Anamika is truly speaking, half ours. Recently, someone ever so casually mentioned the tree by its name and I went, ‘Really? Is that who she is?’ I rushed to ask Google, and Google said the person was right. It even showed me pictures to prove its point. Well, well, well well! Here was enlightenment (of a different kind) at last.

The tree is called Eeti in Malayalam, Rosewood in English. Such a famous and prestigious member of the tree clan had been living right in front of my eyes for ten long years and I had not known. Not surprising that I didn’t recognize the tree since I am just a novice in the field, only now taking an interest in finding out names of the trees around me. Of course I am familiar with the regular and more common ones, the jack-fruit, mango, peepal, the banyan, rain tree, moringa, coconut tree, banana, golden shower, karaka, tamarind et al. but the Rosewood itself had been a closed book until then, the only ones I had met having been in furniture form, either proudly shown off by owners in their homes or by salesmen in stores.

What I could find out about the tree: Rosewood is one of the most exploited species of trees around the world. It is much in demand to be used in making furniture, musical instruments, rosewood oil. The exploitation of the tree has resulted in all kinds rosewood species becoming really scarce. So now the trees are treated as threatened species, protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. That means one requires logging permits, and strictly not exceed set quotas.

There are different kinds of rosewood like Honduras rosewood, Brazilian rosewood and more. I wonder what kind is the no-longer-Anamika tree. That I think will be my next quest.

Reaching out with her branches
The upper branches of the rosewood tree against the morning sky

© Shail Mohan 2021