SULTANPUR NATIONAL PARK, NEAR GURGAON, HARYANA, INDIA.

The scented thorn tree.

For birds looking to build nests, Sultanpur’s cosmopolitan forest of woody sentinels, is akin to a five star resort minus the room service. In this 352 acres natural landscape dry deciduous species mingle with evergreens like the Acacia to prevent soil erosion and improve biodiversity. Acacias are resilient trees. Evolving over the centuries they have developed a knack for surviving extreme conditions and overgrazing.

The Nilotica (a subspecies of the Acacia) that grows in patches within the National Park is known as the scented thorn tree. Owing to its long maintained habit of producing every summer, fluffy ball shaped yellow flowers that emit a sweet fragrance. And the scent doesn’t end here. In fall again, the tree litters the ground with a second sweetener: this time elongated greenish pods that serve as fodder for grazing cattle, especially during dry spells and droughts.

Prickly thorns of the Nilotica (locally the Babul) prevent snakes from reaching eggs and hatchlings.