Native tree species profile #1 – Dhau (Anogeissus pendula)

Dhau – The icon of resilience

We begin our series on the hero species of the Aravalis with one of the most enduring figures among the Aravali flora, the resilient Dhau. This superbly hardy tree occupies a unique niche in the hill ecology of the semi arid Aravali forests- that of colonizing rocky, unforgiving slopes.

Even lopping or pruning does not dent its resilience, as it continues to grow, albeit as a shrub, spreading laterally. Not one to be ignored for its looks, the Dhau is a pretty sight, with fledgling trees having a silvery trunk, a canopy that bows gracefully at the edges and small leaves adding to its delicate visage.

This tree yields the toughest timber in the country. The leaves were used to make a green dye in the past, and the bark yields tannins that can be used to bleach sheepskin, as well as a type of gum.

This icon of the Aravalis is vanishing fast from sight, and needs critical intervention if these forests, which are a lifeline for natural resources to people in the NCR region, are to endure.