For a more natural hang-out over water, take stroll down “Climbing Tree Alley” at Vilamendhoo. The nearly horizontal palm trees are nearly as iconic a shot of paradise as the sunsets and the turquoise lagoons. The palms start to grow this way by the water’s edge when erosion undermines the stability of their root system and on the water’s side and the start to gently tilt and eventually grow in that direction. You will find such orthogonal specimens across the Maldives, but Vilamendhoo has a particularly extended stretch of them along the northeast side which they have named after many people’s favourite activity on these arboreal jungle gyms.
If you don’t have a tree guide book to hand but still want to know the identity and stories behind some of the striking landscape on the island, then you will appreciate Kuredu.
We often describe the Maldives as a plot of sand and a few trees. Everyone loves the sand bit, but the trees often go unmentioned and unappreciated. The palm trees are certainly a prevalent fixture, but the islands also have an arboretum of tropical curiosities like the Banyan, and (one of our favourites) the Walking Pine.
“Hernandia Nyphaeifolia – English Name: Lantern Tree…Grows up to 20 meters high and found in coasts of East Africa, Asia, and Polynesia including South Pacific. The seeds of this tree are spread by bats, the leaves, fruits, seeds and bark of the tree is said to have medicinal values. Tahitians polish the seed and make necklaces.”
Kuredu has posted a series of handsome and informative signs at prime examples of arboreal distinction across the resort which adds a bit of natural interest and insight during your strolls.
A rich tropical forest tapestry blankets Adaaran Hudhuranfushi with a colourful and quirky canopy. The sand paths have a grander arboreal arch to them than most islands.
And the diversity is stunning. There are several giant Banyans around the resort. Our favourite was the ‘Kasakue’ or ‘Screw Pine’ (see picture above). We see these all over the Maldives with their bizarre root systems reaching down into the sand giving rise to their nickname – ‘Walking Trees’. Being one of our favourite tree, we keep an eye out to them and some of the best examples we saw at Hudhuranfushi.
Another place where they had great selection was their resort garden (one of the biggest in the Maldives) where they features unusual specimens like the ‘Num Num’ tree which produces a fruit at the base of its trunk used for traditional cooking (see picture at bottom). A very appropriate name for a delicacy producing tree I’d say. Hudhuranfushi also has it’s own Banana Grove that features 7 different varieties of bananas.
My wife’s favourite was the abundant ‘Temple Trees’ that bloom all year round with white and yellow flowers (see picture directly below). They are called ‘Temple Trees’ because worshippers would pick the flowers and take them to temples as a part of Buddhist tradition in the region.
I’m not going out on a limb to say if you appreciate the bio-diversity of a thriving tropical forest, then Hudhuranfushi is a treeat for you (I am not ashamed of these puns).