Species

The Landmark Trees were organised, like all living things, onto the Tree of Life- a conceptual branching tree used to organise all biological species. The work to conduct this classification is the discipline of taxonomy.

Approximately 210 species of tree were identified in the 962 Landmark Trees. Some were familiar and famous, such as the much-loved neem tree, and some were obscure and only a single death away from utter extinction in the wild, such as the Elaeocarpus blascoi.
The species binomial is a two-part name which identifies the species. Species binomials are almost always derived from Latin or Greek words. Each species is encompassed within a single genus. The genus is the first of the two words. The genus is itself encompassed with a single family.

When you encounter a species binomial on this site, you can click on it to learn about it on an external database, such as Wikispecies, or to see other trees in the database of the same species.

You can also  explore the different species by following the listings in the Botany sidebar.

What is a species? You can find the following definition at Wikipedia:

In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring.

Species that are believed to have the same ancestors are grouped together, and this group is called a genus. A usable definition of the word “species” and reliable methods of identifying particular species are essential for stating and testing biological theories and for measuring biodiversity, though other taxonomic levels such as families may be considered in broad-scale studies. The total number of non-bacterial species in the world has been estimated at 8.7 million, with previous estimates ranging from two million to 100 million.

Common names, by contrast, may be in any language and are often imprecise. In this study, the species binomial is linked to a Common Name. You may notice that the Common Names are often presented in multiple. For example, on of the the largest species of tree in the world is alternately known as Banyan, Vad, Bad, or Baragad in north India, but has different common names in different places and in different languages.

Species names do change, and there may be alternate names in use that the ones listed here. For example, Samanea saman is synonymous with Albizia saman.

As a reference for identification and names, we primarily followed Pradip Krishen’s Trees of Delhi. This is by far the best tree guide available for trees of India (excluding mountain regions), and we strongly suggest you purchase a copy (by clicking here, via Amazon.com). When we were in forests where we could not use this book , we followed the identifications and names of the experts we met along the way. Sometimes, in botanical gardens, the trees were conveniently labelled.

Too often, we were unable to come up with a positive identification of a tree that we met. When this happened, this is marked clearly. If you know the species of any of the unidentified trees in the is project, or if you find any corrections that need to be made, please send us an email following the correction links at the bottom of each tree profile.

A handful of the Landmark Trees have two, or even three, species associated with them, when several organisms grow together in one mass. These multiple trees are marked with the Fusion attribute tag.

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You can learn about some of the species we found most interesting:

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Adansonia digitata (Baobab) One of the world’s largest and oldest trees, the southern African baobab was brought to India by Mughals almost five hundred years ago [ Bombaceae Family (Semal or baobab) ] :

Aesculus indica (Horsechestnut) This tree, a relative of the North American buckeyes, has broad, radiating leaves, and its fruit can be ground and washed to make flour [ Sapindaceae Family (Litchi) ] :

Agathis robusta (Kauri Pine) Found in tropical Australia and northern New Zealand, this survivor from ancient Southern Hemisphere forests can potentially grow to be one of the oldest and largest trees [ Araucariaceae Family (Monkey Puzzle) ] :

Amherstia nobilis (Pride of Burma) The delicate orange flowers of this tree are magnificently pink and graceful, making it a treasure to gardeners [ Fabaceae Family (Pea family) ] :

Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya Bunya Pine) This giant, prickly tree from NE Australia is a surviving relict of an ancient lineage of once-widespread Southern Hemisphere forests [ Araucariaceae Family (Monkey Puzzle) ] :

Azadirachta indica (Neem, Margosa) A familiar, beloved, superb medicinal tree, planted throughout India. [ Meliaceae Family (Neem or mahagony) ] :

Bombax ceiba (Semal, Silk-Cotton Tree) One of the largest trees in North India, with huge red flowers and stout strong branches, and silky fibres in its fruit [ Malvaceae Family (Cotton or hibiscus) ] :

Cedrus deodara (Deodar Cedar, Devdaru) A common and revered evergreen tree of the Western Himalaya, one of India’s largest and most beloved trees [ Pinaceae Family (Pine) ] :

Cocos nucifera (Coconut Palm, Nariyal) The famous coconut tree, used for food and materials throughout the tropics, grows naturally in coastal regions worldwide [ Arecaceae Family (Palm) ] :

Cordyline australis (New Zealand Club Palm) A small tree well-known in New Zealand, “Ti kouka” is planted widely there and is a source of fiber, food [ Laxmanniaceae Family (Club Palm) ] :

Couroupita guianensis (Cannonball Tree, Kailashpati) A relative of the edible Brazil Nut Tree, this South American tree is decorated with ballshaped woody fruit and strikingly curious flowers, resembling the Shiva lingam. [ Lecythidaceae Family (Barringtonia) ] :

Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese Redwood, Sugi) The Sugi tree is Japan’s national tree, and there can be found as an ancient temple tree. It is widely planted in China and India as a timber and forest tree. [ Cupressaceae Family (Cypress) ] :

Dracaena draco (Canary Islands Dragon Tree) A native of the Canary Islands west of Africa, planted widely as an ornamental and reputed to reach 6000 years in age. [ Ruscaceae Family (Dragon Tree) ] :

Elaeocarpus blascoi (Blascoi Elaeocarpus) A critically endangered forest-edge tree of the Indian tropical mountain shola forests [ Elaeocarpaceae Family (Elaeocarpus) ] :

Eucalyptus globulus (Tasmanian Blue Gum) One of the largest and tallest trees in the world in it’s native Tasmania, Blue Gum is grown extensively worldwide as a forestry tree [ Myrtaceae Family (Jamun or Eucalyptus) ] :

Eucalyptus obliqua (Tasmanian Stringybark, Messmate Gum) One of the largest and talllest trees in the world, this stingybark is a critical element of the famed Tasmanian forests [ Myrtaceae Family (Jamun or Eucalyptus) ] :

Ficus benghalensis (Banyan, Baragad, Bad) The national tree of India and one of the largest species in the world, banyan is a fig tree that has an unparalleled ability to spread its branches and aerial roots [ Moraceae Family (Mulberry or fig) ] :

Ficus religiosa (Bodhi Tree, Peepal) A incredibly common and intensely revered strangler fig found throughout the continent, with distinctive pointed leaves [ Moraceae Family (Mulberry or fig) ] :

Gingko biloba (Gingko) With none of its near relatives remaining alive, the ancient lineage of Gingkos were well-known from fossils worldwide, and survived only in a small region of China. [ Gingkoaceae Family (Gingko) ] :

Hyphaene dichotoma (Branching Doum Palm) One of the only palm trees in the world that branches, this tree is found on the west coast of India [ Arecaceae Family (Palm) ] :

Khaya senegalensis (African Mahogany) A valued timber tree of the tropical African savannas, this tree can grow to massive proportions [ Meliaceae Family (Neem or mahagony) ] :

Kigelia africana (African Sausage Tree) This tropical African tree has large, inedible, woody fruits hanging low on very long stalks [ Bignoniaceae Family (Jacaranda) ] :

Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip-Tree) This tree, with attractively curved leaves, is the tallest species in the seasonally-bare deciduous forests of the eastern United States [ Magnoliaceae Family (Magnolia) ] :

Opuntia ficus-indica (Prickly-pear) This prickly cactus, native to Mexico, has ben cultivated in dry places worldwide for its sweet fruits. Its Latin name means ” [American] Indian Fig” [ Cactaceae Family (Cactus) ] :

Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine) This true pine of the dry lands of the NW interior United States is one of the tallest and largest of all pines [ Pinaceae Family (Pine) ] :

Platanus orientalis (Chinnar) This Eurasian species of sycamore is a beloved shade tree, well known westwards to the ancient Greeks, and eastwards to the sunny lands of Iran, Pakistan, and India [ Platanaceae Family (Plane Tree or Sycamore) ] :

Prosopis juliflora (Mesquite, Vilaiti Kikar) Since its 1915 arrival, this thorny Central American tree has come to dominate Delhi’s forests, displacing the native trees. [ Fabaceae Family (Pea family) ] :

Pyrus pashia (Meghalaya Pear)  This pear tree is found in the Meghalaya Hills. Pears have been cultivated in Europe and Asia since ancient times for their delicious fruit [ Rosaceae Family (Rose or apple or cherry) ] :

Samanea saman (Rain Tree)  The Central American Rain Tree is planted throughout the tropics as a broadly spreading shade tree. [ Fabaceae Family (Pea family) ] :

Shorea robusta (Saal) A major component of Central and East Indian forests, this tree is the source of excellent timber [ Dipterocarpaceae Family (Dipterocarp) ] :

Tamarindus indica (Imli, Tamarind)  An African tree, now common in India, with delicious tart fruit. Its common name comes from the Arabic ‘Tamar i Hind’, or ‘Date of India’ [ Fabaceae Family (Pea family) ] :

Tectona grandis (Teak)  A large and important forest tree of South India and Southeast Asia, Teak is one of the world’s most highly-regarded timber trees [ Verbenaceae Family (Teak) ] :

Ziziphus mauritiana (Jujube, Ber, Badari)  Star-shaped flowers and edible olive-sized fruit are found on this tree now cultivated throughout the Subcontinent [ Rhamnaceae Family (Ber) ] :