What Thrived in the Drought

2016-2017 was an epic year for the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. We faced the worst drought in 140 years.
So all around us, drilling for water upto a depth of even 1100 feet has become the norm.

Our motor suspended at 500 feet could not pump water any more because water tends to flow towards neighbors deep borewells.

We lost 25 out of 38 coconut trees, all the exotic trees like nutmeg, tomatillos, cloves and many fruit trees..
And banana crop as well as turmeric crop succumbed entirely. Looking at clouds with longing has become an every day affair 🙂

And it was a time to question everything.
Is our climate zone changing from tropical to semi arid?
If rain fed farming is the only way out, where is the rain?
If the pattern is going to be floods one year and droughts for the next 3 years, how do we store all the flood water to use for the non rainy day?
Can we even find or build such a large container to store the flood?

Along with questions, it was time to step up our water saving and recharge efforts – just in case it rains!

And also, it is time to reflect what species not just withstood the drought but actually thrrived under thsese seemingly harsh circumstances. And amplify those patterns.

Here is a list of perennials that tug at our hearts by not just withstanding the drought but also by thriving. They seem to have found their own source of nourishment.

Surinam Cherry
Custard Apple

Custard Apple
Surinam Cherry
Country mango

White Brinjal
Moringa / Drum stick
Sundakkai / Solanum torvum

Agathi / Sesbania
Ceylon greens
Insulin keerai / Costus Pictus
Red Basale / Basella
Gonkura / Rosella

Medicinal Plants
Thoodhuvalai / Solanum Trilobatum
Nochi / Vitex Negundo

All Spice
Basil (indian)
Lemon grass

Green Manure Trees


All flowering trees and among the bushes,
Nandhiavattai / Moon Beam

And we hope this list grows with years.



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