We worked in the same newspaper years back. Then we lost touch as we changed jobs. As years rolled by we had forgotten that the other existed. And the other day he found me on Facebook and mailed me. That’s the way Ignatius Pereira, presently a senior correspondent with The Hindu, found me.
Having come to know of my interest in plants, he sent me an interesting item on a fig tree of the kind mentioned in the Bible, and now growing and fruiting in Kollam district.
Growing luxuriantly at Kallar, a plantation belt within the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary in Kollam district of Kerala, the Mediterranean or common fig tree (ficus carica Moraceae) is mentioned time and again in the Bible and is the subject of much theological discussion and interpretation. It abundantly bears fruits which makes it an attractive sight for visitors.
Standing as a fine shade tree on the edge of an open ground in the midst of a rich clove estate it was planted by late Jacob Thaliyath, owner of the estate, who brought the sapling from West Asia many years ago. The exotic plant has adapted itself well to the tropical forest situation of Kallar region. Having grown into a sturdy tree it has started bearing fruits. The fruits flower in a brownish green hue and ripen to the size of apples sporting a purple hue.
Renju Thaliyath, the present owner of the estate, says they often enjoy the figs as a fine succulent meal.