Lucknow: The state government’s plantation drive for 2017 might focus more on the ‘indigenous’ Rudraksh than the ‘exotic’ Parijaat. On the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5, the Rudraksh tree was presented as a memento to the dignitaries on the dais including chief minister Aditya Nath Yogi and that might have set the theme for the annual plantation drive.

The Rudraksh seeds are revered as prayer beads in Hindu religion. With it, other trees mentioned in the ‘Vedas’ could be back on government’s focus this time, namely banyan, peepal, pakar, neem, arjun, sheesham, aonla, anjir, dhaak, palash among others. A total of 6.5 crore trees will be planted all over the state. The government order (GO) for the plantation will be issued soon.

The CM, while addressing people on World Environment Day, had linked trees mentioned in the Hindu scriptures to nine planets (nav-grah) and 27 ‘nakshatra’.

Jamun, khair, baans, peepal, dhaak, arjun, sal, pine, shami, madaar, kadamb, aam, neem, mahua, pakar, maulshree, palash, rudraksh, anjir and nagkesar are the trees mentioned in ‘nakshatra-vatika’ whereas ‘nav-grah vatika’ mentions aakh, dhaak, khair, latjira, peepal, gular, shami, doob and kush.

Banyan, peepal, bel, anjir and aonla, meanwhile, are trees mentioned in Panchvati in the Ramayana. The CM had said that planting Panchvati trees brings positive vibes and also improves the quality of environment as these trees can retain water and release it during crisis.

Sources said that forest department has been creating awareness on these trees since 2010 by printing pamphlets and encouraging people to plant the varieties.

Though the final GO on the plantation drive is yet to be issued, state nurseries have enough of these trees, which till last year were planted along roadsides or on dividers at less prominent stretches.

“One cannot do without planting these trees as these are the easily available varieties. The plantation scheme every year has these varieties included but this time they might not be just fillers,” said sources. Though there is no denying that many of these trees need more space to grow, sources said.

In the last few years, ornamental varieties used to be the priority. Sources said the peepal trees planted in front of a popular mall in Gomtinagar had to be replaced with tabebuia, a flowering tree.

In previous years, state nurseries had raised some rare and exotic trees like Parijaat (Adansonia digitata) which is said to be a wish-granting tree, Bixa orellana (tree that produces original ‘sindoor’), Cinnamomum camphora (the extract of which is used in making camphor), Annona muricata (variety from Kerala which bears fruit helpful in treatment of cancer), Terminalia chebula (a herb commonly called harr and is one of the constituents of triphala), Milletia ovalifolia (variety from Bengaluru which bears mauve coloured flowers), Kusum (Schleichera oleosa, a tree with red flowers).

Trees from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Orissa were planted in the last two years.