The Success Story of a Semel Tree

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As the countdown to bid farewell to the year 2011 begins, it is the time to look at the year being left behind in retrospect…Also, the time to review the Images’ statistics and various analytical reports of my nature photography gallery for the year.

Looking at those insights, I found “Most Searched Image of The Year” somewhat more special among all of them.

It has made me wonder about certain things, made me pause for a while, and think.

Here is presenting my nature photograph getting the maximum number of views through the medium of search engines this year – A graceful Semel tree branch in bloom, against blue sky.


Well, there are still few days left for the year to conclude, regardless, I can safely declare this image as the most searched Lensdepictions Image of the year, right now itself. Simply because this image is way ahead of the number two image. Like any remarkable photograph, it has a story behind it too.

It was March- the month of spring, and I was on my way to a well-known Jyotirling temple of Lord Shiva in Maharashtra, India. Sitting in the back seat of the car, I was casually looking outside the window, watching the green agricultural fields on the side of the highway, passing by in front of me… all of a sudden, I spotted this amazing tree…It looked absolutely magical to me- A brown tree loaded with an abundance of beautiful, fresh, rich pink flowers but… without a single leaf! However, before I could examine it or think any further, the car just zipped past the spot.

Through the rear window of the car, I kept staring back at the tree, as long as I could… Until, it faded away from my sight, completely. I inquired everyone in the car, including the local driver, if anyone knew which tree that was, but nobody had the knowledge.


The next thing I did was, I quickly remembered a few landmarks that could help me spot the very same place on my way back. In the return journey, I kept my eyes firmly glued to the view outside. At no cost, I was ready to miss the tree again. After a long wait (or it felt to me that way), finally, I saw the tree from a distance; As soon as it approached closer, I got down, hardly waiting for the car to stop…

The tree was standing there lonely, in the middle of someone’s agricultural land protected with barbed wires fence. But, trespassing comes naturally to me, when the reward is nature… :)

Without thinking much, I slipped inside, the watered earth under my feet made my footwear and clothes laced with mud. But, what I longed for since hours was right in front of me. Its leaf-less branches were a mystery, its flowers were divine, there was beauty in its peace, and there was wisdom in its silence. And I knew, I had made my day.

But what I did not know, was the popularity and usefulness of the tree. I looked it up and found out some wonderful things about the tree. It was a shame that I was so unaware of such a special tree. Semel is also  sometimes known as Malabar silk-cotton tree; red silk-cotton; red cotton tree because It produces a capsule which, when ripe, contains white fibers like cotton. These white fluffy fibers are carded into thread and woven into textiles in Nepal and India. Its roots and flowers are also sought after for a number of medicinal values.

Now that this beautiful tree has managed to top the list of most searched images this year, it makes me realize how much in demand it must be. Be it among botany students, nature lovers, spiritual seekers, or NRIs missing their roots, so many people from all around the world have searched for it on the web, and hundreds of times, they have found it on Lensdepictions. This is humbling, indeed!

The triumph of the simple image, and thereby a simple tree, confirms my belief that it is the most simple things in our lives that are the most extraordinary.

Images & Article ©2011 Gyaneshwari Dave

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