Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vitex negundo

Instead of just telling you what it is that you see in my photo taken this morning... that may be so uninteresting, I chose to plagiarize a beautiful piece of research in botany from a Blog on Tamil Literature, authored by Karka Nirka. I hope this author would not mind terribly.

A story he/she (I can't tell from the name) told was about two lovers Thalaivan and Thalaivi of Tamil Nadu. Thalaivi sneaked out from her parents' surveillance many a nights to be with Thalaivan, until one night that they could not be together. A lament in form of a poem titled "Sleepless Night" was born and it goes like this:

Sleepless Night

The vast city had slept, we did not.
We heard the sound of colorful clusters of aged flowers
which look like sapphires,
decorated on the soft branches of
the nocchi tree, with leaves like peacock feet,
falling down on the Ezhil mountains closer to our house.

Sangam poem by Poet: Kollan Azhici
Translated by Palaniappan Vairam

Intrigued by a tree that has flowers like sapphires and leaves like peacock feet, the author learned of a three-leaved chaste tree and identified it being the nocchi tree as mentioned in the poem.

If you are of the curious type, like me, you can look up the information about a Vitex negundo tree. Many species are five-leaved and the three-leaved species is called kaatu nocchi in Tamil.

Now, from my rambling, it is quite clear that what you see in this photo is a set of foot prints left by a peafowl. The leaves of the kaatu nocchi look like that. Of course you can't tell if that was a peacock or peahen... Or can you?
Sleepless Night