October 28, 2007
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Beltangady, Oct 28: We agree with scientist Jagadeeshchandra Bose that every tree has life like we human beings. But have you ever heard of man-eating trees that are large enough to kill and devour a person or an animal. So far no such plant is known to exist though a variety of unconfirmed reports have been recorded at various places.
Zoologists and botanists across the world have had a fascination towards these man-eating plants that eat meat, from the days, since Charles Darwin wrote a book ‘Insectivorous Plants’ in 1888.In Roy Mackal’s book, ‘Searching for Hidden Animals’ published in 1980, there is a mention of man-eating plants in the last chapter ‘Searching for Hidden Animals’.
Like Darwin, Mackal was too bitten by the interest towards man-eating trees. In his book he claims of having acquired different species of carnivorous plants.
Now botanists have got an opportunity to try their hand again. Rarest of the rarest incidents has taken place in a remote village in Dakshina Kannada. People of Patrame, about 30 kilometres from Uppinangady are startled by the incident that occurred fifteen days ago. A tree (locally known as Maruva tree) tried to grab and gobble up a cow that was left in the forest to graze.
A glance at the spot, where this above-mentioned carnivorous tree used to stand fifteen days ago, before it was chopped by Vasanna, a local, would make you feel nothing but denying the whole incident.
But if you listen to the eyewitness Pushpalatha, a young girl, you will believe it. Her scared eyes tell us the whole horrifying scene which she saw for the first time. Locals here say that everything occurred in front of them. Pushpalatha was the first one to sight the phenomenon. It was around 12.30 pm when she was on her way to the shop.
Suddenly an awesome scene stopped her. A tree was literally lifting the cow. The tail of the cow was completely rolled inside the tree. Moreover, the tree was grabbing the cow. Only the front legs of the cow were on the ground. It was like a crane lifting a vehicle.
Immediately she informed her mother Kunnhi, who rushed to the spot and asked Pushpalatha not to touch the tree. Later Vasanna, who was engaged in fencing work nearby, rushed to the spot and started cutting the branches of the carnivorous tree. But the hungry tree was not willing to let go of the cow. Finally he had to chop the tree and he succeeded in saving the cow.
When this correspondent went to the house of Ananda Gowda who owns the cow, the animal was recovering from the pain in its tail. Ananda Gowda applied medicines on the cow’s tail.
The carnivorous tree of Patrame is not a big tree. The tree is called as ‘Maruva’ in local language. (A local botanist says it could be Terminalia Paniculata, subject ot verification.) How this small tree can grab an animal is a million-dollar question for the villagers.
This is not the first incident of its kind that has terrified the people. A similar incident had occurred 30 years ago, recalls Puttanna, a villager here. He claims that his bull was grabbed by a tree called ‘Sarali’ in local language. Later, the villagers saved the bull by cutting the branches of the tree. Along with this there are several cases of villagers complaining that their cows which had gone crazing returned home with injuries. Some of them had severe wounds on their tails. But no one could unravel this mystery. But now with the present incident, all fingers point towards 'maruva' tree.
Villagers of Patrame believe that there is a tree called ‘Pili Mara’ (tiger tree) which grabs animals. According to Ananda Gowda, the Nalike community which performs ‘Bhoota Kola’ has more information about this tree.
Ananda Gowda quoting one of the 'padd'danas' (folk songs in Tulu) stated that there is a mention of tiger tree in them.
It is a common belief among the villagers that any person who climbs a tiger tree should pierce the sickle into that tree beforehand. The iron in the sickle has the power of resistance against the carnivorous tree, he says.
But in spite of all these explanations, it is still hard to believe that a tree can gobble a cow. Experts and scientists only can find the truth. Now the ball is in their court.
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