Mon. Oct 18th, 2021
 
Masur, The Shrub After Which Mussoorie Was named, Is Now Disappearing

Masur, The Shrub After Which Mussoorie Was named, Is Now Disappearing

The Masur shrub (Coriaria nepalensis), which once grew in abundance in the hills of Mussoorie and after which the town was named, is now fading from its landscape and from memories of its residents. Also known as Masuri berry or ‘Masuriya’, the 10-feet-tall shrub with large, green pointy leaves, which blooms with reddish flowers in spring and produces dark, poisonous berries later in the year, were found all over the Queen of Hills when the British first came to the town. Residents believe that due to urbanization, the species has now disappeared from the town it is synonymous with and can be found only in its outskirts.

 

In fact, in late 19th century works, like the text ‘Historical Sketch of Masuri and Landour’ (1832) by Fisher and the book ‘Guide to Masuri, Landaur,  Dehradun (1884) by John Northam, the town is spelt ‘Masuri’.

Masur, The Shrub After Which Mussoorie Was named, Is Now Disappearing

Masur, The Shrub After Which Mussoorie Was named, Is Now Disappearing
Masur, The Shrub After Which Mussoorie Was named, Is Now Disappearing

 

The Masur shrub once occurred in abundance in these hills and apparently the town’s founding fathers named the town ‘Masuri’ after this shrub. The spelling changed to ‘Mussoorie’ sometime later. It is concerning that the shrub which the town was named after and which once grew in abundance has vastly declined from the hills,

 

According to historians and experts, “The number of Masur shrubs has declined considerably. Barring a few which can be spotted on Camel’s Back road, one would have to travel to the city’s outskirts towards Hathipaon to catch a glimpse of the shrub.” Like the shrub, awareness around it is also receding. “The younger generation is completely ignorant about this plant,” Bhardwaj said.

 

Surabhi Aggarwal of Mussoorie Heritage Centre, who organizes heritage walks across the town, said, “Trails could be developed to generate awareness among the youth and tourists about the Masur plant.”

Subhangee Guha

Break the Newz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *