Walkers will recall the wonderful Liana which worked around a Juniper tree (the African Juniper Tree/Pencil Cedar – originally brought from Kew Gardens into Lalbagh) using it as a guide and support to move up towards the sunlight. The Juniper had already lost its bark to vandals (romantic ? couples) who had etched their names on the heart wood after ripping off the bark. This must have happened sometime ago as there no branches and leaves on the Juniper. However, the Liana starting from the ground near the Juniper had two separate rope like strands braided and woven into each other with one strand spiraling in a clockwise direction and the other strand in an anticlockwise direction. This formed a wondrous loose semi- rigid structure around the Juniper. The Liana sprouted leaves at a height of about 20 ft. from the ground.
The Authorities have cut off the dying Juniper tree, but with it also the wonderful Liana which created the effect of a dense jungle/rainforest. Lianas grow in every direction and form: braids, loops, knots, circles and spirals. We have two grand Lianas in Lalbagh namely the Bauhinia vahlii and Bauhinia hookerii. These dominating Lianas spread all over when found in their natural habitat, such as in the Western Ghats. Some of them grow to be huge structures with the original stem/trunk even having a girth of upto 4 feet. The Bahunia vahlii has been flowering for some time now and is at the end of its bloom. The Bahunia hookerii near the Aquarium unfortunately encourages thoughtless young children into practicing their Tarzan act without any fear of the Authorities’ reprimands.