Choonda Pana (a variety of palm tree).

Green Thidanad……

I was going through some old (2013) photos of my drives through the totally green surrounding of our house in Thidanad and came across this photo.

The palm tree in the picture is called choonda (fishing rod) pana (palm tree). The long one hanging like long hair of a beautiful girl is the flower of the tree.

This figures in the ghost story of Yakshi. Yakshi is the most beautiful of the evil spirits, appearing to lonely young men on their walks at night. She in white saree with hair like the flowers of this palm tree play Cupid to the stricken guy and once in possession drinks his blood. She doesn’t kill, but drinks blood and take control of the guy. And unlike Dracula, she is fondly talked about due to her beauty and the sumptuous hair.

Before the flowers come out hanging like in the picture, toddy tappers manipulate it to extract toddy which is more potent than the coconut toddy.

Those flowers discarded by the tappers bear lemon sized fruits which when crushed and put in the flowing river will make the fish intoxicated and was used for fishing. This method capable of killing all fish in the river is banned now.

The leaves of the tree has a long stem which when dry is very light in weight. We used to have this as fishing rod and even a nibble could be sensed while holding the rod, making it perhaps the best fishing rod.

Interestingly elephants love the leaves. Obviously it has some intoxicant like the Amarulla tree in Africa with which elephants and other wild animals get drunk on it’s fruits and leaves.

One interesting observation is that unlike a coconut tree which can grow slanting, choonda pana is always @ 90 degrees bottom to top.

Choonda Pana (a variety of palm tree).

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