There is a great variety of native trees in Pakistan, which many of us cannot identify. The following is a photographic index of some of the trees you can see across the country. – Text and photos by Sayed Qamar Mehdi
The Arabic Gum tree (Acacia nilotica), locally known as "Kiker", is common in Punjab. It is known as "dukh such ka saathi": a friend through joy and sorrow.
The Golden Shower tree (Casia Fistula), locally known as "Amaltas", bears a fruit which is used in local herbal medicine. It is also called "umeed ka phool": flower of hope.
The White Marudha (Terminalia Arjuna), locally known as "Arjun", is a beautiful tree. In local languages it is called "baaghon ka muhafiz": protector of gardens.
The Silk Cotton tree (Bombax Ceiba), locally known as "Sumbal". A tree that matches its name in beauty, and it is often covered with flowers and strands of silk.
Salt Cedar (Tamarix Aphylla), locally known as "Okan". Some call it "meherban dost": the considerate friend.
Indian Coral tree/Flame tree (Erythrina Stricta Subirosa), this tree bears different coloured flowers and is often called "Rangeela": or colourful.
Indian Beech tree (Pongamia Pinata), locally known as "Sukh Chain" or the tree of tranquility and happiness.
Camel's Foot tree (Bahunia Alba), locally known as "Kachnar". It bears a pod which is also cooked and eaten.
Mexican Oleander (Nerium Oleander) locally known as "Kanair", is common in the villages and gardens of Punjab.
Indian Temple tree (Plumieria) locally known as "Champa". This is a tree that needs no introduction, and bears a scent that has inspired many a poet.
Chinese Rose (Hibiscus Sinensis), locally known as "Gularh". And is often called "Sada Suhangan": the evergreen.
Indian Jojoba (Ziziphus Mouritiana), locally known as "Bair", and bears the famous fruit of the same name.
White Mulberry (Morus Alba), locally known as "Toote". This tree is famed for its shade and its fruit. A Punjabi saying "thandia chaun toot dian" celebrates the cool shade of this tree.
Prosopis Cineraria (Prosopis Cineraria), locally known as "Jand".