Fruit trees. The Banana plant (Musa) is actually a gigantic herb arising from an underground stem. The very large leaves grow directly off the trunk which is about 5m in height. The fruit grows in bunches of up to 100 fruit.
Bread Fruit trees are common, with large almost spiky leaves and fruit rather like giant knobbly acorns. The fruit (really a nut) is boiled and used in savoury dishes.
The Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is one of India's most remarkable fruit trees. A large evergreen with dark green leathery leaves, its huge fruit can be as much as 1m long and 40 cm thick. It grows from a short stem directly off the trunk and branches. The skin is thick and rough, almost prickly. The fruit of the main eating variety itself is almost sickly sweet. Each fruit has dozens of segments, each with a nut about the size of a Brazil nut at its centre which are often roasted.
The Kokum (bhirand) is used in curries and is made into a syrup for making a refreshing cool drink in the summer. The peel is prepared into a magic cure (sol coddi) for hangovers!
The Mango (Mangifera indica) is widespread. It is a fairly large tree being 6-15m high, with spreading branches forming a rounded canopy. The distinctively shaped fruit is quite delicious and unlike any other in taste. A favourite variety is the Alphonso from Goa and Maharashtra.
The Papaya (Carica papaya) which often grows to only 4m has distinctive palm-like leaves. Only the female tree bears the shapely fruit, which hang down close to the trunk just below the leaves.
The economically valuable Tamarind (Tamarindus indica), which may have originated in Africa, is another handsome roadside tree with a straight trunk and a spreading crown. It is an evergreen with feathery leaves and small yellow and red flowers which grow in clusters. The valuable fruit pods are long and curved and swollen at intervals down their length.