Cubbon Park’s bamboo trees on their way out


Bengaluru: The bamboo trees that greet visitors at Cubbon Park may not be around much longer. With the trees having recently flowered, park officials say it’s the beginning of the end for them — they will slowly start changing colour from green to brown and eventually wither. Approximately 200 bamboo trees were planted at the park over 40 years ago. Flowering is a rare occurrence in the life cycle of the species, following which the tree gradually perishes.

Authorities are asking visitors to be more careful as the trees are surrounded by numerous anthills, which are home to cobras and rattle snakes. Bamboo trees, falling due to old age, heavy winds and rain or even simply by brushing against each other, are being periodically cleared.

Mahantesh Murgod, deputy director of Cubbon Park, said he had asked members of the urban forest department to inspect the trees about four months ago, when they started falling. “Even a stray spark can turn the brown, aged trees to ash. People should exercise caution. Considering the trees are situated in clumps, the fire can spread quickly. Bamboo oil can exacerbate the problem,” he said.

Abhinav Narayan, a freelance photographer and frequent visitor to the bamboo grove, said it has always been an attraction for shutterbugs. “I recently noticed that the trees have been changing colour from green to brown. This backdrop continues to draw photographers like me but to see the plants dying is sad,” he said.

Mahantesh said they were considering replacing the trees with new bamboo plants, sourced from across the country and abroad. “We are still in talks with the Bamboo Society of India and the forest department. We plan to include some new varieties of bamboo but hope to retain the bamboo groves in Cubbon Park,” he said.