The Chir Pine: Pinus roxburghii

I’ve been fascinated by the chir pine Pinus roxburghii (Pinus longifolia) for quite some time and realised that I haven’t yet put down a post on it. I’ve marvelled at its beauty both at Sattal and also Mussoorie in Uttarakhand, India.  Unfortunately it is sad to see villagers set whole slopes of the forest on […]

The quest for natural hair dye

To dye, or not to dye. Most people have to deal with this question sooner or later. Although I am quite comfortable with my greying hair, it can sometimes get awkward when everyone around you colors their hair. It probably depends on your culture, but honestly, hanging out with friends who are your age or older but […]

Making your own own coffee powder

Coffee has been one of my all time favorites since childhood. I can vaguely remember begging for coffee from my grandma and pestering my cousin sisters’ back home for coffee all through the day. The only difference was while my grandmother used filter coffee, my cousin sisters’ had made the move to instant coffee. I never […]

Harvesting and processing Arrowroot

Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) is a familiar name. As kids it was a kind of a sister to castor oil which mum sometimes spooned into our mouths. It was bland and insipid and that was the beginning of my childhood hatred for any kind of porridge and of Arrowroot biscuits which has thankfully now passed. Arrowroot […]

Harvesting and processing Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice which is very familiar in Asia. It is usually used powdered and is one of the easiest to identify due to its bright orange-yellow color. However it is often adulterated and then colored with artificial colors. If you have a small garden patch, it is very easy to grow […]

The coconut palm: Cocos nucifera

My posts on coastal South Karnataka or on botany wouldn’t be complete without a post on the almost revered (here in India) coconut palm. It must have been among my first few sights after I was conscious enough to explore outside my grandmothers house. I remember woven fronds of the coconut palm acting as rain […]

Mexican Poppy: Argemone Mexicana

I first noticed this plant next to a friend’s house in Faridabad, Haryana. It had leaves with sharp spines, yellow cup shaped flowers with overlapping petals with a white film covering the green parts. I asked the watch man who is from the Siwan district of Bihar in India what kind of plant it was […]