Ziziphus sp. known widely as Chamshing in Bhutan is a hardy deciduous tree under the Rhamnaceae family. The tree is highly revered in Bhutan as its stony seeds are used as rosary beads to enchant prayers in Buddhism. The species is of high conservation importance due to its rarity induced by poor regeneration and lack of scientific studies.
Legend has it that the famous iron chain builder (Dupthop Chazop) during his pilgrimage to Nepal (Belbu or Boudhanath temple) brought this famous Chemshing as his walking stick. Upon his arrival in Paro, he planted the walking stick on the present site to subdue the spirit that dwells on this particular hill, a hill that resembles a giant turtle. That must also be the very reason why there are no other Chemshing found in the whole country. The use of fruits also dates back to the era Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, during which Shabi Druem “a post held by village headman” equivalent to present day Gup (village headman), with the help of his village people collects beads (fruits) from the tree. The collected beads were sent to Paro Rinpung Dzong which will be then send to Shabdrung at Thimphu for the monastic body.
– Submitted by Tshewang Dorji, RNR RDC Yusipang,
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