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SACRED PLANTS SOURCES
"The Origin of Coconut Tree",The Hindu, July 8,1995
Folklore says that the mythological story to explain the origin of the coconut tree.

Agarwal, S.R.,"Trees, Flowers and Fruits in Indian Folk Songs, Folk Proverbs and Folk Tales",Glimpses of Indian Ethnobotany, pp 3-12, Oxford & IBH Publishing House, New Delhi.,
The real and indigenous culture of any nation is reflected in its folklore plants have been an integral part of Indian life and culture, and hence it is but natural that all aspects of folk literature, namely folk songs, folk tales and folk proverbs of our country should have profuse references to trees, shrubs, climbers and their flowers and fruits.

Agrawala, V.S.,"Ancient Indian Folk Cults",Prithivi Prakashan, Varanasi, India,1970
There are very few books on the folk cults of India. The book on “Ancient Indian Folk Cults” is one of the most important works of reference on Indian Folk Cult. The book contains a wealth of information on festivals connected with the Bow, Mountain and Mountain Cave, Indra, River Goddess, Skanda, Rudra, Naga deity, Ocean and the Stupa and Chaitya. It also covers the worship of trees, Mukunda, Goddess Sri and the cult of Yakshas. It is an excellent summary of the study on ancient literature.

Ahmed, S.,"Neem in Sociocultural Life in South Asia",The Neem Tree, pp 579-584, VCH, Weinhem, Germany,1995
People all over India worship neem tree. The Hindu goddess Arulmigu Mariamman is synonymous with the neem tree and is worshipped for her curative powers. In many communities neem leaves are hung in bunches at the entrance to the house as a symbolic way to keep out infestations and evil spirit.

Amirthalingam, M.,"Sacred Trees of Tamilnadu",C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
The sacred trees or sthalavrikshas along with the sacred groves and sacred tanks are the three most important ecological traditions of Tamilnadu and have played a significant role in the protecting and preserving the environment. Each sacred tree is associated with a deity and a temple. Sacred trees are revered and worshipped by the devotees with specific taboos and customs. The 60 sthalavrikshas surveyed and recorded in this book were all found to have medicinal and mythological stories. The habitat and temples associated with the tree have also been discussed for each tree with accompanying sketches and photographs.

Amirthalingam, M.,"Neem Tree - A Review",Indian Forester, Vol. 127, No.12, pp. 1336-1342,2001
The neem found use in the Indus Valley Civilization. References in Sanskrit literatures indicate its antiquity. It is sacred to the Hindus and is associated with the goddess Sitala, the small pox goddess. Apart from religious importance, it has various medicinal properties.

Amirthalingam, M.,"Sacred Trees of Tamilnadu",Eco News, Vol. 4, No.4, pp.12–16, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1998
Sthala vrikshas or sacred trees are found all over in India. In Tamilnadu, almost every temple is associated with a plant or tree connected and the history and mythology of the temple and deity. The tradition of associating trees with gods and goddesses traced from the sangam literatures.

Amirthalingam, M.,"Tulsi – A Sacred Plant",Kisan World, Vol. 25, No.1, p.45,1998
Tulsi or the sacred basil is regarded as the most sacred herb in India with a hoary past. It is believed the Goddess Shri has been incorporated in it. The sacred herb not only has religious significance, but it also has important medicinal and environmental uses.

Amirthalingam, M.,"Sthalavrikshas of Tamilnadu",The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu, pp.83–93, C.P.R.Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1997
Sthala vrikshas or sacred trees are found all over India. In Tamilnadu, almost every temple is associated with a plant or tree. This is sthala vriksha. The tradition of associating trees with gods and goddesses in Tamilagam can be traced back to ‘Sangam’ literature, which is full of references to more than hundred plants. In Tamilnadu 265 temples were visited and 60 ‘Sthalavrikshas’ were recorded.

Amirthalingam, M.,"The blinding tree of India",Blackbuck, Vol. 15, No.3, pp.63–66,1999
Thillai, the blinding tree of India, is found in the coastal forests. It has many medicinal properties. It is also used for making toys, furniture and also for fuel. This is the sthala vriksha or the sacred tree of the Lord Nataraja temple in Chidambaram.

Amrita,"Temples of Nature",Discover India, Vol.12, No.3, pp.20-22,1999
Tree worship is a very ancient practice in India. It is believed that some trees are the abodes of Gods and spirits. Some of the most commonly worshipped trees are Banyan, Peepal, Wood-apple and Neem.

Bhattacharya, A.,"On the Cult of the Plantain Tree and its Ethnographical Significance in Bengal",Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society, Vol. XLI, No. 1, pp. 1 – 7, The Mythic Society, Bangalore,1950
Among the existing tree-cults of Bengal the cult of the plantain tree has some special features.

Birdwood, G.C.M.,"The Arts of India",Rupa & Co., Calcutta,1992
The book “The Arts of India” is the most authoritative and important reference works on Indian Art. The book contains a wealth of information and is amply illustrated. A glance through the contents pages will show the wide scope of the work and the thoroughness, which went into its preparation. Many of the subjects described were at one time plentiful. As a source of reference it is indispensable and provides in a single volume more information than general works on India. The first part of the book discusses the sacred animals, plants and trees, places, mountains and rivers.

Chakraverty, R.K., and Mukhopadhyay, D.P,"The Great Banyan Tree",Bulletin Of Botanical Survey of India, Vol. 29, No.1-4, pp 59-70, Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta,1987
The Great Banyan Tree in the Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah is a source of attraction to all visitors. In this paper its history, importace, growth, mythology, protection and training of prop roots have been discussed.

Changkija, S., and Kumar, Y.,"Ethnobotanical Folk Practices and Beliefs of the Ao-Nagas in Nagaland, India",Ethnobotany, Vol.8, pp 26-30, Deep Publications, New Delhi,1996
The aboriginal Naga tribes of Nagaland follow rich ethnobotanical, cultural and folk practices. Nagas have been utilizing plants growing in their surroundings not only as sources of food and herbal medicines, but also for their traditional religious ceremonies and beliefs.

Chatterjee, G.,"Vishnu’s Consort on Earth",The India Magazine, Vol.12,1992
The veneration of trees and plants has been a common phenomenon all over the world. It is believed that they are the symbols of god or sprit. In India, many plants have been worshipped. The tulsi used to grow in almost all the Hindu houses. It is believed that Tulsi as the wife of Vishnu, a person of unparalleled virtue.

Cotter, H.,"In the Shade of the Bodhi Tree",Art in America, pp. 172-180, (220-221),1990
The influential art of India’s Pala period is highly self-conscious and extravagantly ornate. It reveals parallels between this sophisticated Buddhists art, produced between the 7th and the 12th centuries, and the work of our own times.

Crooke, W.,"Tree and Serpent Worship",Folklore of India, pp 237-259, New Delhi,1993
Worship of many trees plays an important role in popular rituals and folklore. It is believed that the tree is an embodiment of the gods and spirits. Folklore says the tree Kalpataru or Kalpadruma, the tree of Swarga or Indra’s paradise, granted all desires. Many tribes of India worshipped the tree as their totemic symbol.

Dagar, J.C.,"Trees and shrubs in Religion and Mythology",Tree World, Vol. 3, No. 6., pp. 3-4,1995
From time immemorial tree worship has occupied an important place in the religious sentiments of Indian People. Many trees have profoundly influenced the culture and civilization of man. Many folklore, myth and tales are also associated with trees.

Dhawan, V.K., S.R. Joshi and I. Bana,"Protected Trees in the Forests of Uttarakhand",The Indian Forester, Vol.134, No.7, pp. 937-946, July,2008
Hundreds of trees are protected as living natural monuments and are associated with wisdom and immortality in India. In Uttarakhand, some trees hold special cultural and religious significance like peepal, banyan, mango, etc. it was at the International Forestry Conference at Rome in 1926 that Protection of Natural Features was discussed. In 1929, Sir H.G. Champion, Silviculturist, Forest Research Institute mooted the idea of preservation of elite trees along with establishment of Preservation Plots and resolution No.22 was passed. In 1952 Seth distinguished 3 types of preservation plots. By the time the country became independent, the subject of protected trees appeared to have fallen into neglect. In 1958, Bhadran, however, gave the first comprehensive account of Giant Trees of India including trees girth of more than 100 inches at breast height. The growth of trees depends on many factors like seed origin/parent material, inheritance characters, edaophic, climatic etc. Growth of trees has found to be more in Tropical Wet evergreen /Semi evergreen forests than trees in other forest type. In 2007-08, authors from Silvicultural Division of Forest Research Institute have visited Preservation Plots of Uttarkhand and adjoining Shiwalik forests of Uttar Pradesh and surveyed Protected Trees which still have markings on their stem. Fresh enumeration was also done at sites and presented in the present paper. It was concluded from the study that due to global warming and intense biotic pressure, regeneration has found to be abnormal. Increased biotic pressure threatened some existing species. There is need to examine the causal inhibitor factors responsible for establishment of regeneration and elimination of some species.

Dyer, T.F.T.,"Sacred Plants",The Folklore of Plants, pp. 243-261, Chatto and Windus, London,1889
Closely allied with plant-worship is the sacred and superstitious reverence, which from time immemorial, has been paid by various communities to certain trees and plants.

Elizebeth Mitchell,"Finding Shiva: Times in Bodhgaya",www.geocities.com/ Athens/ Forum/ 1302/ gaya.html.,
Bodhgaya is the sacred city of Buddhist. Since, Buddha is said to have had his enlightenment. The Bodhi tree grows in the courtyard of the Mahabodhi Temple and said to be a descendent of the original Bo tree. Bodhgaya has become a virtual world’s fair of Buddha celebration.

Fergusson, J.,"Tree and Serpent worship",Aryan Book House, New Delhi,1888
Tree and Serpent Worship by James Fergusson: Illustrations of Mythology and Art in 1st and 4th century A.D., from the sculptures of the Buddhist Topes at Sanchi and Amaravati. The introductory essay deals with the prevalence of Tree and Serpent Worship in the Western World. Part II continues the discussion with reference to Eastern Asia. The Topes are then described and explained.

Gayathri, P.K.,"The night-long vigil",The Hindu,February 10,1996
Mahashivratri, a festival for Lord Shiva is associated with the story of a hunter who unknowingly worships Lord Shiva with vilvam leaves and water throughout the night.

Geddes and Grosset,"Plant Folklore",Children’s Leisure Products Limited, Scotland,1999
There is a natural connection between the history of our wild and cultivated plants and flowers, and traditional folklore. It provides an insight into the traditions and customs associated with almost 250 plants and the medical uses to which many of them were placed. The plants are listed alphabetically by their vernacular name, and there is a section on Topics of General Interest and an appendix of scientific names.

Ghosh, S.K.,"Tulsi - The Kapabriksha, Sciencea",Science Reporter, Vol. 38, No. 8, pp. 16–18,2001
Tulsi is considered as a sacred plant. Apart from its sacredness, the shrub also has excellent medicinal properties. Tulsi finds a lot of uses in Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy and even Aromatherapy.

Gupta, S.M.,"Plant Myths and Traditions in India",Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt., Ltd., New Delhi,1991
Trees and plants play an important part in the myths and customs of India. Many are considered holy, often for reasons that are lost in the mists of antiquity. They are associated and identified with gods, planets, months, etc., certain plants are used for protection against witchcraft and the evil eye. Some plants bring luck and are offered in the temples whereas few others play an important part in other religious rites. These traditions and myths form an important aspect of the Indian’s mental background and the author has performed a useful service in compiling the fact pertaining to the subject from the older Indian literature and modern research. The author discusses the forty-five most important trees and plants along with the myths and customs connected to them. Specimens of Indian sculpture illustrating the various myths are reproduced on numerous plates.

Gupta, S.M.,"Floral Motifs Based on Legends",A Manual of Ethnobotany, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,1987
There are 2 types of floral motifs based on legends sculptured on temples. One type is purely decorative and the other one has symbolic significance. The very fact that so many plants are sculptured on temples, show how close our ancestors were to nature.

Gupta, S.M.,"Women and Tree Motifs",A Manual of Ethnobotany, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,1987
In most religions all over the world, it is the women who are the custodians of beliefs, upholder of traditions and responsible to perform the religious rituals. The women and tree motifs are divided into three categories: (1) Nativity of Buddha, Mahamaya and the Tree Motif (2) Post-nativity depiction, differed Tree Motifs (3) Brahminical period, women deities associated with trees. Women and the tree motifs are some of the most beautiful depictions in art and are sculptured not only in a very realistic manner but are aesthetically very pleasing to see.

Gupta, S.P.,"Folklore About Plants With Reference to Munda Culture",Glimpses of Indian Ethnobotany, pp 199-207, Oxford & IBH Publishing House, New Delhi. ,
The Mundas inhabiting the Chotanagpur region of Bihar are mainly concentrated in the districts of Ranchi and Singhbhum. The different folklores about the origin of Munda clan names after plants, plants used in the preparation of handia beverage, Munda festivals after plants, plants in socio-religious ceremonies, etc., have been discussed some of the salient features of Munda culture.

Hajra, P.K.,"Nature Conservation in Khasi Folk Beliefs and Taboos",Glimpses of Indian Ethnobotany, pp 149-152, Oxford & IBH Publishing House, New Delhi,
The Khasis have a rich folklore about plants and their conservation. Their religious belief, that some deities reside in the forests, has resulted in the maintenance of certain undisturbed patches of forests as sacred groves, such as at Mawphlong and Sorarim near Shillong. All biotic influences are excluded from such sacred forests.

Hegde, R.N., and Patil, G.A.,"Panchavati – “The five sacred trees of India”",Kisan World, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 23 & 26,1999
Panchavati or the five sacred trees of India are Peepal, Banyan, Indian gooseberry, Bengal Quince and Asoka. These trees are a source of renewable energy. The mythology and the medicinal uses of these five sacred trees are briefly discussed.

Hopkins, E.W.,"The Religions of India",Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, pp. 540 – 542,970
Tree worship is an ancient practice. Trees and plants are the direct object of invocation in the Rig Veda. Our ancestors not only worshipped the trees and plants, but they also venerate mountains, water and animals. In general every ‘village tree’ is sacred to the Hindus.

Jain, S.K.,"Magico-religious Beliefs About Plants Among the Tribals of Bastar, Madhya Pradesh",Quarterly Journal of Mythic Society, Vol.54, pp 73-94,1963
Bastar state, Madhya Pradesh, is thickly inhabited by the adivasis. In the paper the magico-religious beliefs about the plants used for food and medicine, the rituals for forecasting weather and crop conditions, taboos to consume certain fruits before the inauguration ceremony, the consequences of violating these taboos and the association of plants in worship and offerings by Adivasis of the Madhya Pradesh and other materials are described briefly

Kirtisinghe, P.B.,"The Mango",The Indian Magazine, Vol. IV(6), pp. 38-42,1984
The mango has strongly associated with the spiritual and cultural life of India. It has been found from the Indus Valley Civilization. It is associated with the Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Its leaves, fruits, wood and twigs were used in the Hindu rituals and ceremonies

Kumaravelu, M.,"Vikki (Elaeocarpus oblongus)-Sthala Viruksam (Sacred Trees) of the Nilgiris",The Downstown Chronicle, Vol. IV, No. 5 & 6, pp. 5-6,May 8,1999
At all the places of worship in Nilgiris, different tree species are found to occur as sacred groves or sacred trees. One such sacred tree of the Nilgiris is Vikki (Elacocarpus oblongus).

Maneka Gandhi and Yasmin Singh,"On the mythology of Indian plants",Rupa & Co., New Delhi,1989
Many plants are considered holy. Plants are often associated with many myth and folklore. The plants are associated and identified with gods, planets, months, etc., certain plants are used as protection against witchcraft and the evil eye. Some plants bring luck and are offered in the temples and others play an important part in other religious rites. The author discusses the thirty most important trees and plants along with the myths and folklore connected with each. The sketches related to myth and tree.

Mao, A.A.,"Some Symbolic and Superstitious Botanical Folklore About Mao Naga Tribe of Manipur (India)",Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany, Vol.23, No.2, pp 625-628, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,1999
Five plants with symbolic uses and six plants with superstitious beliefs in the Mao Naga tribe of Manipur, India, are described for the first time in this paper.

Meher-Homji, V.N.,"Conservation of ecological heritage",The Ecological Traditions of Tamilnadu, pp. 32 – 44, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai,1977
The discipline associated with conservation is ecological tradition. The respect Indians have for all forms of life is well known. The trees are protected with religious fervor. The sacred groves are the repositories of biological resources. In the northern portion of the Western Ghats biodiversity is sheltered in the sacred groves, smaller in size but widely distributed. The reserved forests are depleted. Every species has a particular role to play in the ecosystem and ecologists are trying to understand their importance.

Mitra, B., Das Gupta, R., and Sur, P.R.,"Rudraksha-A Religious Tree and Its Economic Importance",Ethnobotany in India, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,1992
The Rudraksha tree is much popular for its tubercle nuts worn by various sects of Hindus. Freaky nuts with more than 5 cells are believed to possess special merit

Mitra, R.,"The Sacred Asvatha- The Most Worshipped Tree in India",Ethnobotany, Vol. 6, No. 1-2, pp. 95-98,1994
Peepal is regarded as the most sacred tree in India since Harappan culture during Indus Valley civilization. It is believed that it is on this tree Lord Vishnu and other deities reside. The sanctity of this tree is not only among the Hindus but also among the Buddhists and Sikhs. It is worshipped in many parts of India as a benefactor of mankind and is supposed to possess power to bestow fertility. It has mythological, religious and cultural significance.

Pal, B.C.,"Folklore and Myths about Some Indian Grasses",Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society, LXXVII, 4, pp. 424 – 431, The Mythic Society, Bangalore,1986
Since, prehistoric times plants have profoundly influenced the culture and civilization of man in many countries. In India, folklore, traditional tales and mythological stories are replete with reference to plants. The present paper deals with 10 such species, provided with botanical names, local names and also etymological notes

Panikkar, R.,"The Sacred Tree",The Vedic Experience Mantra Manjari, pp 372-375,1977
The sacred tree has been mentioned in the Vedas and Upanishads as a cosmic tree, the tree of life, as the lord of the forests and the pole of e sacrifice. It is believed that through trees grace from heaven flow and hence its branches are sacrificed.

Paulraj, S.,"Conservation of sthalavriksha – A biodiversity approach",presented at the National Symposium on the Biodiversity and Conservation of the Sacred groves, held at Hyderabad, WWF – India, Andhra Pradesh State Office,April,1996
Sthalavrikshas or Sacred trees are found all over India. In Tamilnadu, the mythology of the temple or deity is connected to a tree. These trees are protected and worshipped for their ecological, economical, medicinal and social importance. They are the representatives of the ecology, species and genetic diversity.

Pearson, R.,"Palash - The Flame of the Forest",The Heritage, Vol. 4, No.3, pp. 42-43,1988
Palash, the flame of the forest, is considered sacred, because it has fulfilled the needs of mankind since ancient time. The Vedas mention this tree. Its twigs are considered an auspicious fuel for the sacred fire, Yajna

Raj, A.D.S., S. Sukumaran and P. Daniel,"The evolution of the Sthalavriksha Concept through Sacred Groves",In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore,2004
Sacred groves and sacred trees have close linkage with the ecology of the place. Generally there are numerous trees, lianas, shrubs and herbs present in a sacred grove. But only one tree is deemed as sacred, Sthala viriksha and it is otherwise known as or Thalamaram (The tree of that place). On analysis, it was known that from time immemorial, trees were recognized, as the primary shelter for men and it was the one, which gave food and fabrics also. Even for diseases, their bark and other parts were used as medicine. In the critical observation, out of 201 groves studied there are about 61 tree species worshipped as sacred trees.

Raj, A.D.S., S. Sukumaran and P. Daniel,The evolution of the Sthalavriksha Concept through Sacred Groves, In: C. Kunhi Kannan and B. Gurudev Singh (ed.), Strategy for Conservation of Sacred Groves, Institute of Forests Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore, 2004.,
Sacred groves and sacred trees have close linkage with the ecology of the place. Generally there are numerous trees, lianas, shrubs and herbs present in a sacred grove. But only one tree is deemed as sacred, Sthala viriksha and it is otherwise known as or Thalamaram (The tree of that place). On analysis, it was known that from time immemorial, trees were recognized, as the primary shelter for men and it was the one, which gave food and fabrics also. Even for diseases, their bark and other parts were used as medicine. In the critical observation, out of 201 groves studied there are about 61 tree species worshipped as sacred trees. Out of the 61 species Ficus benghalensis, F. religious, Mimusops species Madhuca longifolia and Strychnos nux-vomica are common in all the four taluks of Kanyakumari District in Tamil Nadu. It is interesting to note that 31% of the groves are having Ficus benghalensis and Ficus as the sacred tree. The word Sthalavirksha is derived from Sanskrit, i.e. shala place; virksha tree. The sacred groves studied are associated with tree along with folk deities in many groves, the sacred tree is circumbulated by the worshiper who prostrates before the tree and some times encircled it with a string, as if to tie it and to rap the spirit within. It is to fulfill a vow or wish generally associated with infertility. It is found that, worship in the temple is a secondary one and the first and prime importance is always given to the sacred tree of a temple. So it may be deemed that from the worship of sacred tree, worship of the deity in the temple evolved. The larger trees were worshiped because of the beliefs that enlightenment of saints under some trees, association of gods with plants; origin of certain trees from the body of gods; creation of human race by god under a tree, trees as a savior of honour souls of the deal resting on trees are sacred; resemblance to any symbol god; clan names after trees and so on. Plants and animals are linked with gods and goddesses as their symbols or vehicles (Vahanam) or favourites. In Tamil Nadu literature Devarm, Thiruvasagam and Divyaprabantham the stories associated with Lord Siva are linked with, trees particularly Ficus benghalebsis. Some examples are, Devaram 716,5:1-2; 17,3:8; 66, 3:1, Thiruvaasagam 281, 0:1-2; 83:162-163, Diviyaprabantham III 40, 17:1-2; III, 4:3-4 where Ficus benghalensis was repeatedly mentioned. The following steps could be observed in the evolution of the concept of Sthalavriksha through the sacred groves: (i) People selected groves as they provide shelter coolness and kind of refreshed nature to assemble and worship nature, (ii) When they started worshiping a supernatural power they did it in these groves or under very large trees as a shady place, (iii) They worshiped the biggest tree by applying sandal paste, kumkum and flowers along with lighting special lamps, (iv) Some of the trees were considered powerful and they were tied with special cloths. (v) They have also constructed raised platforms as to make them special places for their get-together. These are called as Aaltharai (Aal = Ficus benghalensis, tharai = space around) or Arayaltharai (Arayal = Figus religiosa, tharai = space around), (vi) Earlier, snakes were worshiped as ancestors and people believed that they frequent these places even after their death and so had the idols of snakes in these raised platforms in memory of the ancestors. These idols may have one, two three or many heads as well, they believed that they can fly over a distance and also avenge any mistakes committed against the society. These idols also possess male and female figures, which according to worshipers were the images of the ancestors. (vii) In many nature temples underneath the sacred trees Siva lingam were consecrated, (viii) in some even cross (the symbols of Christians) were also seen. (ix) The idols or sacred symbols associated with these trees were considered as sacred and the trees were considered as Sthalavriksha. (x) In nature, temples some of them are without any special construction or just a platform to make these places more secure, walls were constructed around these trees and idols. Later small temples were constructed either surrounding the Sthalavriksha or right in front of it. (xi) In course of time they claimed the supernatural powers of the trees along with the consecrated idols and many other beliefs, small temples were constructed and regular offerings followed. (xii) Further when more and more people worshiped in such places the people themselves or leaders, landlords/kings constructed bigger temples to establish their superiority as well as to claim the powers of the sacred place and symbols. It is evident from the sacred groves studied that there is an evolution of sthalavriksha concept, form the beginning. The various steps from the singletree worship to the sacred sthalavriksaha are discussed in detail.

Rajaiah, R,Sacred marmelos, New Indian Express, March 6, 2005,
Bilva tree is sacred to Lord Shiva. Its leaves became forever the sacred offerings to Lord Siva, without which a puja to the sivalingam is often considered incomplete. Sacred marmelos is an ancient denizen of our land, mentioned in Yajurveda along with Lord Sivas other favourite, the ber. The fruit of the tree has medicinal value and used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathy. The unripe fruit is a good medicine for intestinal ailments. It is delicious, nutritious, and high in fibre fruit and has protein, calcium and riboflavin. Like fruit, the leaves of bilva also have medicinal value. Research indicates that the bilva leaf extract has a blood sugar lowering effect similar to that of insulin. The oil extracted from seeds is used as massage oil in Ayurvedic massage treatment. Like a wholehearted prayer, the bilva tree gives powerful healings and blessings.

Ramanayya, N.V.,"The Sacred Tree",An Essay on the Origin of the South Indian Temple, pp.4-5, New Delhi,1985
In South India, there were no temples in the beginning. Ancient people believed that certain trees are the abode of gods and goddess. Thus, at the beginning, all the gods and goddesses were worshipped in the form of trees

Ramanayya, V.N.,"Sacred Plants",An Essay on the Origin of the South Indian Temple, pp 4-5, Asian Education Services, New Delhi,,1985
In ancient South India neither primitive deities such as gramadevatas (village gods) nor the Hindu pantheons such as Shiva or Vishnu had any temples. Almost all the gramadevatas were placed in open-air shrines, under large trees. The tree itself was believed to be the embodiment the deity and was considered sacred. Shiva and Vishnu were closely associated with Vilva and Aswatha respectively

Ranchor Prime,,"Hinduism and Ecology: Seeds of Truth",Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, Delhi,1994
The book “ Hinduism and Ecology: Seeds of Truth”, looks at the environmental values of the Hindu tradition, its past and present teachings and practice. The author speaks to prominent Hindu environmental activists and thinkers. The book also discusses about the reverence that Hindus had for sacred rivers, mountains, forests and animals. The principal branches of Hinduism are Vaishnavism and Shaivism. The information in this book is drawn from the Vaishnava tradition, most of which is common even to Shaivism.

Rao, M. D.,"Auspicious Trees and Plants",Hidden Treasure of Vastu Shilpa Shastra and Indian Traditions, pp 178-180,1995
The mythological, religious and cultural significance of the sacred plants such as peepal, tulasi, neem, mango, jack, banana, coconut, betel leaf, betel nut, vilva tree, sandal wood and turmeric is discussed.

Saikia, N., and Nath, S.C.,"Traditional Use of Some Plants in Religio-cultural Purposes by ‘Koch’ Community in Assam, India",Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 997-1001, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,2003
The article is based on the plants associated with religio-cultural purposes on the ‘Koch’ community of Assam. 38 plants related to the various religious and cultural traditions are described following their botanical, family and vernacular names, religious values and parts used.

Saran, S.,"Now and Forever",Jetwings,June,2001
Vata Savitri is one of the many fasts celebrating bonds that go beyond this life. Vata Savitri celebrates the triumph of Savitri, who wrested her husband back from the Lord of Death, Yama himself.

Sastri, K.N.,,"Tree-Worship and Tree-legend in the Indus Valley",New Light on the Indus Civilization, Vol.1, pp 24-35, Delhi,1957
Worship of trees is an ancient Indian tradition. Indus Valley seals clearly indicate the worship of trees. Hindus later incorporated this practice the in their own religion

Shah, R.A.,"Asoka – the Sorrowless Tree of India",Vibration Magazine, Vol.1, No. 2,1998
Asoka, the sorrowless tree is one of the most legendary and sacred trees of India. It is sacred to Kama Deva and it is a symbol of Love. It is a tree that represents fertility. It is also sacred to Buddhist. A different part of the tree has different medicinal properties.

Sinha, B.C.,"Origin of Tree Worship",Tree Worship in Ancient India, pp 29-35, East-west Publications, London and the Hague,1979
Tree worship is possibly the earliest and most prevalent form of religion. It was through the worship of the trees that man attempted to approach and propitiate God. Sacred trees appear in the earliest mythologies that have been recovered. In India, the tree-worship dates back to the 3rd or 4th millennium B.C. This ancient tradition continues to exist in India till date.

Sinha, B.C.,"Trees in Human Welfare",Tree Worship in Ancient India, pp 17-58, East-west Publications, London and the Hague,1979
Trees have played vital role in the field of human welfare and they are doing it even now. They shall be playing this important role so long the human life exists on the face of this earth. This article discusses about a very few useful and important trees which are quite common.

Sinha, B.C.,"Tree Worship in Ancient India",Books Today, New Delhi,1979
The book “Tree Worship in Ancient India” is one of the most important reference work on this subject. The author has described the tree-worship in Ancient India, which had become quite common by fourth millennium B.C., when there was a highly evolved Harappan culture. It has continued throughout the whole period of ancient Indian history and still remains deep in the hearts of Hindus in modern India. The book contains a wealth of information on tree-worship and covers various aspects such as tree-worship in Harappan period- the origin, Vedic period, in Buddhism and Jainism, in Pre-Gupta period, Gupta period and Medieval Hindu period, and also about tree worship in South India and trees in Ancient Indian Coins. In general, the importance of trees and plants is exaggerated In Indian art and religion. The tree-worship is a tradition, which will continue to inspire our future generations.

Sinha.B.C.,"Tree Worship in Vedic Period",Tree Worship in Ancient India, pp 36-43, East-west Publications, London and the Hague,1979
Tree worship was prevalent in our country right from the Vedic period. Soma is the most celebrated plant in the Vedas. The whole of the ninth Mandala of Rigveda and six hymns in other Mandalas are devoted to the praise of this plant. This article clearly indicates that the people in the Vedic age lived in close relationship with nature.

Subramania Pillai, G.,"Tree worship and Ophiolatry",Annamalai University Publication, Chidambaram,1948
The author of the book “Tree worship and Ophiolatry” has done pioneer work in tree and serpent worship. He scans entire range of Tamil literature and gains an insight into the inner significance of the manifold rites and ceremonies that have grown round the tree and the serpent. In Tamilnadu, trees are worshipped, not as a deity by itself, but as the abode of gods and spirits. The author has traced the origin of Sivalinga from the worship of Kanthu, the stump, Kanthali, a stone, was to be installed in its place and worshipped. The author has also discussed the importance of Kaval-maram. He also discusses the serpent worship and its origin

Subramanyam, T.V.,"Medicinal Role of Betel Leaf",The Indian Review, Vol. 75, No. 8, pp 22-27,1979
In our country betel leaf has ever been held as holy and hallowed by every Hindu religious association. All ceremonies, either social or ritual are marked by the distribution of betel leaves. All types of worship of deities include offerings of betel leaves.

Sundara Sobitharaj, K.K.S.,"Thalamarangal",Sobitham Publishers, Madras,1994
The author of the book “Thalamarangal” has done a reference work on tree worship. He scanned entire range of Tamil literature; especially Saiva and Vaina literature and has listed out 73 thalamarangal, which are associated with the deity and temple. The trees are worshipped in Tamilnadu, not as a deity in itself, but as the abode of gods and spirits. The author has traced the origin of Sivalinga from the worship of Kanthu (the stump worship). He also discussed the parts of the plants used for worship

Thiagarajan, G.,"Basil- The Royal Herb",The Magazine of the Temple of Fine Arts Grishma, pp 51-53,1997
Tulasi, is sacred to the god Krishna. Ancient Hindus valued this sacred plant for its medicinal value and every household placed the leaves at the altar apart from using it in worship.

Thirugnanam, S.,"Tirukoil Marangkalin Maruthuva Payankal",Selvi Printers, Tiruchirappalli,1995
The author has discussed briefly about 69 sacred trees, their habit, temples associated with the tree and its medicinal uses. In addition to the text there are also sketches and photographs given for each tree.

Thomas, K.,"The Worship of Trees",Man and The Natural World Changing Attitudes in England 1500-1800, pp. 212-241, England, New York,1984
Worship of trees is found in almost all the civilization of the world. It is believed that the trees provided a link with eternity. It is a kind of family monument. Thus, the tree provided a visible symbol of human society.

Verma, G., and Singh, K.K.,,"Neem - A wonder Tree",Science Reporter, Vol. 38, No. 11, pp. 16 – 18,2001
Neem tree is a part of Indian history, tradition and culture. It has been widely employed in folk medicine since time immemorial. Recent research has discovered several new properties of this wonder tree

Warrier, L.,"A Shady Affair",Jetwings, pp. 56-62, February,2001
There are mythological tales associated with the trees such as the banyan, peepal, Krishna vad, vilva, Asoka and butter tree. These trees are symbols of power, love, kindness, patience and fortitude in the face of disaster.

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