Location in BHU campus: Mainly grows widely in waste areas in the campus.Many persons have planted it in front of their residences in the campus.
Botanical name : Prosopis cineraria (L.)Druce Syn P.spicigera L.
Family : Mimosaceae
Vernacular / local Name : Bengali-Shami; Gujarati-Hamra,kandi, khijado; Hindi-Chaunkra, jand, khar, khejra; Kannada-Banni, perumbai; Malayalam-Parampu, tambur; Marathi-Saunder, shemri; Oriya-Shami; Punjabi-Jand; Rajastan-Khejri; Sanskrit-Shami; Sind-Kandi; Tamil-Jambu; Telugu-Jammichettu, Jambi.
English /Trade names : No English Name
It is the State tree of Rajasthan. It is also the national tree of UAE. A tree called Tree of life, approximately 400 year old is growing in Bahrain, in a desert devoid of obvious source of water.
Usually a small tree up to 10m high with conical spines and spreading crown with a very long tap root.Bark grey ,rough with deep fissures. Branches and branchlets armed with scattered broad- based conical prickles.Leaves bipinnate, usually with two pairs of pinnae,pinnules 7-2 pairs ,0.7 to 1.5 cm long,oblong.Flowers about 4 mm long , creamy white/yellowish in slender 5-7 cm long spikes. Fruit a pod ,10-25x 0.5x1 cm, oblong, compressed cylindric leathery, slender, hanging, filled with a dry, sweetish pulp, constricted between 10-15 seeds.
Khejri is regarded as a saviour in the desert and is sacred in Rajasthan.The tree is considered sacred by Hindus. According to astrologers the plant is associated with the constellation Dhanishta whose presiding deity is Vasu.
The plant is mentioned in Atharvaveda and later samhitas and is considered sacred. The leaves are used for worshipping Vishnu. It is considered as an abode of Shiva.One of the names of Shiva is Shamiroha meaning one who ascends Shami tree.
According to Vedas Shami tree is endowed with the property of containing fire.As per a Rigvedic legend Pururavas, the ancestor of Lunar race of kings generated the primeval fire by rubbing the branches of Shami and Ashvatta trees together. Rama is supposed to have worshipped the tree before he set off with his army to recover Sita.
Among the Rajputs ,the chief or the King goes in a procession to worship the tree on the tenth day of Dashera and liberates a Jay, the sacred bird of Rama.Its worship during Dashera festival is ordered in the Vratraj because on this tree the five pandavas hung up their arms when they entered the Virat Nagari in disguise. One of the arms turned snakes and remained untouched till the owners returned.
It is one of the most useful trees of the desert. Wood is used in house building, agricultural implements, and is an excellent fuel. It grows as a hedge plant.The foliage and pods are good fodder for camels and goats.The young fruits are used as vegetables.The mature pods contain sweet pulp and are eaten.The plant yields a gum.
It is used in Agroforestry and grown along with millets. It enriches the soil because it can fix nitrogen and at the same time because of deep root system does not compete with crops for water.