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Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Native and imported, sacred and ordinary, culinary and floral, favourites of various kings and commoners over the centuries, trees are the most visible signs of nature in cities, fundamentally shaping their identities. Trees are storehouses of the complex origins and histories of city growth, coming as they do from different parts of the world, brought in by various local ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 15th 2019 by Penguin Viking
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Ajith Narayan
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book introduces you to the world of trees found in the Indian landscape. It is a treasure trove of historical, mythological and factual information on commonly found trees. There are also assorted recipes and cooking instructions included. Some of the trees that we see daily and presume to be Indian like the Coconut tree, Tamarind and Eucalyptus have migrated to this country from places as diverse as Malaysia, Africa and Australia. Trees are classified into native , exotic and invasive . I ...more
Sep 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, india, nature
“Our ancient cities were built around nature, by improving it. Today, the wealthier we get, the more we move into settings that are disconnected from nature” says Harini Nagendra, one of the authors of the book. The book is a combination of recipes, poetry, folk tales, and history and tells about the healing qualities of the trees which are mostly found in the city. We meet the birds and the small animals that make these trees their home. The books took me down the memory lane as I learned many ...more
Vinay Leo
Cities and Canopies brings nature to the spotlight, and trees in India. It's a non fiction book, but it's does not read like a text book. There are few recipes, interesting observations like shapes of seeds, old poems, importance of the tree, history, some interesting usage of the tree parts etc. I found it informative, and the illustrations to add to the beauty. Non-fiction is not a genre I dive into that often, but this is a book I would dive into once again! :) ...more
Shailee Basu
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shoba Raja
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The authors of ‘Cities and Canopies - Trees in Indian Cities’, Harini Nagendra and Seema Mundoli, describe their book as “an idiosyncratic account, featuring some of our favourites”. I found it engaging, a charming gentle read. It felt like the writers were having a pleasant conversation with me. That’s deceptive though, for this is a well-researched book written by experts who clearly love what they do – which is to make it all simple and fun for lay people like me.

Thimmamma Marrimmanu is a 60
Yashodhara  Sirur
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely lovely book and perhaps a pioneering one in India. Although there are tons of nature books , most are based on locales/ecosystems far removed from our own. So this book was a pleasant surprise.
The cover art of a banyan tree complete with it's attractive red fruit, enticed me in. Banyan being my favorite tree, I absolutely had to read this book! I thought I knew a fair bit about Indian trees, but happily enough, I got to learn loads of new things such as -
> Tamarind tree is not native t
This is such a delightful book that I didn't wish it to end. I wish Harini had written about other common trees of India too since there are so many of them. Maybe we could get a second part? ;) But, that's just my inner thick-book-lover speaking. Not that I'm complaining, it is a great book! It's beautifully written and well-researched, with equal measures of scientific, religious, cultural and mythological significance of certain trees. I loved this book a lot and I wish more Indian authors wr ...more
Aditi Srivastava khandelwal
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are some books that you come across and don’t ever want them to end. This is one such book which a travelogue of Indian trees that lets you live in their soul, dive deep into their soul and enjoy uncommon tales of some common trees of India!

A treasure and must keep for any tree and nature lover. One of the most interesting non fiction ever written. Wish there is a sequel releasing soon!
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Cities and Canopies is a beautiful, short book with lovely anecdotes and nuggets about trees, their values, and their central place in Indian cities and cultures.

The chapters on specific trees were lovely to read and I learnt so much despite having studied botany. How amaltas (laburnum) flowers use exquisite acrobatics to pollinate, how pregnant wasps tunnel their way into unripe banyan fruits often breaking their wings on the way, how the name tamarind comes from tamar-i-hind (date of India).

Ashok Krishna
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A simple, pleasant read on various trees that we come across on a daily basis - decreasingly so - in our day to day lives, but pay very little attention to.

If you love trees, you will love this book. Period.
Santhosh Shankar (The Book Talk With Santhu)
This book should be one of the eye openers to this generation... Which have lost the beauty and simplicity of trees around them... If you really take the time to appreciate the content then you'll realise the full intent of the book and the importance of canopies... Great read... ...more
Geeta  Ramani
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
"Cities and Canopies" deals with a very unusual subject - The trees around us in India. As one really interested in this subject, I found it very informative. The authors have supported their writing with a lot of scientific study. They have also included ancient stories and references which make it very interesting They also mention tres from around the world. They have included details of birds and insects which find a home in trees.

The book is very readable in parts, sometimes it tends to mea
Jayati Deshmukh
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fun and informative book with details of not just the trees of Indian cities but with lots of childhood memories, historic events, poems and recipes interleaved! Reading this book feels like talking with fellow nature loving friends. Although it is an easy read, it is well researched and has been written by authors who are expert ecologists and researchers in this area. I throughly enjoyed reading this book and came to know of many interesting facts which I wasn’t aware of.

Some of the most com
Jyoti Kerkar
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a nonfiction book , but does not read as a text book the writers have done an extensive research and written this book with basic love for trees the green treasure. It gives us the insight into tress of India, some which are local and some that have migrated here to India i was surprised to know that trees we grew up  with are not of Indian soil like Coconut, Tamarind,Eucalyptus, we are so used to these trees its unbelievable that they were brought to India. There is a lot you can learn, ...more
Manzoor Elahi
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, nature
Antimicrobial, anticancer, antioxidant seems to be the catchwords of the authors. Almost every tree and plant, according to the authors, have "antimicrobial, anticancer, antioxidant, and having the potential to reduce diabetes and cholesterol levels".

"The drumstick tree is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. A study by the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad found that it has seven times more vitamin C than oranges, fifteen times more potassium than bananas, ten times m
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'd say this book is now one of my favourite non-fiction books that I would love to revisit from time to time. It is an easy and fun read, and I loved the writing style that takes readers beyond dry botany facts and instead, shares information with the aid of stories and anecdotes interspersed with recipes, poetry and do-it- yourself tips involving trees. I learnt so much about common trees in our cities that I did not know about, and about the multi-faceted relationships between trees and citie ...more
Kiran Jonnalagadda
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Delightful book about trees in Indian cities that is marked by a few frustrations, making it a slow read:

* Trees are sometimes introduced by their scientific name and sometimes by common name. For instance, what is a "rain tree"? Any large tree from a rain forest, or a specific tree that is known by this generic name?
* No illustrations of what the flowers and leaves look like. I had to Google them, which was sometimes tricky when only the common name was used.
* Descriptions switch from folklore
Siddharrth Jain
Jul 27, 2020 rated it liked it
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now - Chinese Proverb
‘Cities and Canopies’ is a great attempt on highlighting some of the prominent trees of India. Trees are multifaceted and one of the greatest gifts of Mother Nature to mankind. This book in itself is a reminder and more importantly to the youth, to understand the importance of cohesive living.
From palm to peepul, banyan to the neem, you can’t help but reminisce the mischief that was part of our childho
Vidhi  Shah
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is about trees commonly found in Indian cities and how they have and continue to impact aspects of the ecology and society. It reads like a fact book sprinkled with some myths, recipes and stories. Each chapter reads like an independent essay.
It is a very informative book however I felt like the stories within each could have been more compelling. It would also have been an easier read if there were pictures or illustrations along with the tree descriptions.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book is a dream that you hold in your hand-this quote which I penned down few years back came back in my memory after this splendid reading.
Natural surroundings are always near and dear to us it is we who look in different way.
Birds,trees,insects,animals everything was part of the reader.The effort with full devotion and love showed by the writers are praiseworthy.
Samuel Rajkumar
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I personally like the book because it describes a milieu that I am familiar with. It speaks of trees with a degree of affection mixed with doses of rational science. This approach works for me, but the book does not live up to its title. It was not the comprehensive guide I expected, and felt more like a pleasant conversation with a tree enthusiast.
Gayathiri Rajendran
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very wonderful read for all nature lovers.After reading this book,one cannot look at trees the same way as before.There are a lot of tales about the trees of Indian cities in this book coupled with many useful facts which have been long forgotten by now.A must read for the younger generation!
Manav Panjwani
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great research & perspective by the authors, highlighting the practical aspects of How 🌲 are helping more the common folks, in all spheres of their lives in countries like India.How our ancestors had a meaningful approach towards planting of trees and their beliefs?
Aman Garg
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most enjoyable books I have come across. What I loved the most about this book is the manner in which it contextualized the role of trees in the Indian urban milieu. After reading this, you'll find yourself identifying, observing and appreciating trees in a much more profound manner! ...more
Rama Thoopal
Apr 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommended - epecially if you love vegetation and are fascinated with specific trees' origins. So little on Indian trees in cities...covers all from native to invasive to how to select the ideal tree. Your respect for trees only grows. ❤️❤️ ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. You'll love this if you are a tree lover. ...more
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read. It's like having a long free wheeling conversation with a bunch of friends who love trees as much as you do. ...more
Pavin Pankajan
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Always wondered about the plants around me and how to know about them. An informative writeup, with a beautiful narration which keep one tied to the book
John Rakshith Prabhakar
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to some of the special trees of Indian cities
Chandan Pandey
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The take you for a journey in past to make you understand the cultural importance of trees.
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