Baobab Tree – Delft
This huge ancient tree called “Perukku Maram” in tamil and known as the Bao bab tree is found in the Eastern section of Delft. it is believed that this tree would have been planted centuries ago by the arabs. the bottom of the tree is very large in circumference. this tree is the biggest tree in the Jaffna district. only a few trees of this variety are found in Sri Lanka at present. the flowers of this tree are white and the berries are round and green.
This tree, amazingly found on the island of Delft stands isolated in its splendour. It is presumed to have been brought by seafaring Arab Traders to Sri Lanka (one on Delft and some in the Mannar District). Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam in his book Ancient Jaffna speculates that it was used as a tree¬totem by the early Arabs for their animist worship. Baobab trees are the longest-lived species on earth.
Baobab trees are native to the African continent, which are believed to have been brought to Sri Lanka by Arab traders around 700 AD. It is believed that these Arab traders, who brought camels, also brought Baobab trees — whose leaves were used to feed these animals.
These trees, also known as ‘Upside-down trees’ are so named because their sparse foliage and meagre crowns give the trees the appearance of bearing roots instead of branches. Baobab trees are tall (up to 30m) and have enormous, swollen trunks, in which they store water during the dry season. Each trunk can store up to 120,000 litres of water. The oldest and the largest individual Baobab tree in Sri Lanka is found at Pallimunai and is reported to be over 700 years old.
In Sri Lanka, these trees — called Ali gas in Sinhalese and Perukku maram in Tamil — are now found mainly on Mannar Island, although in the past, they also grew in Jaffna and Puttalam.
Baobab trees are the longest-lived species on earth. The Baobab Tree also called the ‘Bottle Tree’ because of its strange looking shape is a precious reservoir of hard to find water. It has a short stubby trunk of enormous girth and can be just as tall as wide. It is capped with a small crown of spindly root-like branches which are almost leafless. The fibres of the bark can be used to make rope and cloths and its fruit are edible, the leaves too can be eaten. Their trunks can be hollowed out without killing the trees.
This tree amazingly found on the island of Delft stands isolated in its splendour. It is presumed to have been brought by seafaring Arab Traders to Sri Lanka.
How to go:
From Jaffna town : Jaffna bus stand —> travel through Hospital road (900m) (turn left) —> KKS Road and turn left and travelalong (AB19) (15.8Km) —> Araly junction. travel along(AB39) (3.6Km) —> Madathuvali Pillaiyar kovil —> turn left side (12.6Km) —> Kurikadduvan —> Boat service (1hour & 20minutes) —> Delft Island.