Traditional rendering of Waqwaq
Ajab'ib Nameh's waqwaq sighting
|Type||Plantae; Oracular Tree|
|First Sighting||319 BC|
|Last Sighting||2007 AD|
The Waqwaq is a Persian Oracular Tree, originating from India, whose branches or fruits become heads of men, women or monstrous animals (depending on version) screaming " Waq-Waq ", which means screams in Persian.
The Waqwaq tree is a familiar element in all Persian tales and legends.
Alexander the Great's encounter with the Indian Tree of The Sun and The Moon is considered the first Waqwaq account. However, term Waqwaq tree is first mentioned by the Chinese Tou Huan, captured at Talas in 751, in a report called T'ung-tien. It tells how the Arab navigators discovered this tree that grew little children who die once they are detached from the tree.
Post Ninth Century
In 859 AD the basrien writer Jahiz described this tree as populated with both animals and women hanging by their hair.
The legend of the WaqWaq tree became widely known from the tenth century on in the Wonders literature, such as The Book of Wonders of India, where travelers and navigators claimed to have seen strange things:
"Mohammed ben Bâbichâd told me from what he had heard from one of those who went to Waq Waq: that there were large trees. sometimes with elongated rounded leaves that bear fruit like squash, but bigger, that have a human face: when the wind stirs the leaves, a voice comes out, and the inside fills with air, like the pods of the milkweed. If they are detached from the tree, the air escapes at once and they become flat and flabby like a piece of skin."
This strange tree gained attention from famous Arabian scholars, such as Zakarīyā’ ibn Muḥammad al-Qazwīnī, who claimed to have sighted the tree in the thirteenth century; he also described it as a tree crying and blurting out omens.
Ajâb'ib Nâmeh of Tusi Salmani in 1388 also claimed to have sighted the tree in The Book of Curiosities. However, he gave a very different description. He wrote that the tree was decorated symmetrically with the heads of human females, birds, horses, ducks , monkeys, hares, foxes, cocks, and rams. It supposedly ate these animals and their heads bloomed from its branches like flowers.
- Main article: Cow-Eating Tree
On October 18, 2007 residents of Padrame near Kokkoda in Uppinangady forest range sighted one such carnivorous tree trying to dine on a cow. According to reports, the cow owned by Anand Gowda had been left to graze in the forests.
The cow was suddenly grabbed by the branches and pulled from the ground. The terrified cow herd ran to the village, and Gowda got a band of villagers to the carnivorous tree.
Before the tree could have its meal, Anand Gowda and the villagers struck mortal blows to the branches that turned limp and the cow was rescued. Uppinangady range forest officer (RFO) Subramanya Rao said the tree was described as ‘pili mara’ (tiger tree) in native lingo.
He had received many complaints about cattle returning home in the evenings without tails. On Friday, the field staff confirmed coming across a similar tree in Padrane, partially felled down.