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Wild berries of Mussoorie 'fading into oblivion

Mussoorie: 'Kingod' and 'Hisar'- two wild berries with several medicinal properties - that grew in and around Mussoorie are now disappearing from the main town, according to locals.
As these berries have ripened and are ready to be plucked, the elderly fondly recalled savouring these berries while the younger generation seemed oblivious of their existence.
"Everyone loved Kingod and Hisar. As youngsters, we used to feast on these berries in June and July. A delicious jam was made from Hisar and households used to ask the milkman to bring Hisar for this purpose," recalled author and resident Ganesh Saili. Saili further said that wild strawberries used to grow abundantly in some places around the town.
"Wild strawberries are quite small and they still grow, albeit in small numbers, around Lal Tibba, but most people are oblivious to them," Saili added. Harish Sharma, a horticulture consultant, said that blueberries also used to occur in and around Mussoorie, but are no longer to be found.
Most youngsters of today have hardly tasted them, though. "What are these berries? Will you show them to me please," responded a teenager when asked about Kingod and Hisar, "The younger generation is too busy with their gadgets and doesn't have time to explore their surroundings," Saili lamented. "Apart from having great taste and medicinal properties these berries also symbolize the culture of Uttarakhand and I believe that parents are to be held equally responsible for not introducing their children to Kingod and Hisar," Sharma opined. These berries are also fast disappearing from the hills. "Over the past decade or some Kingod and Hisar seem to have disappeared from around the town owing to rapid urbanization and apathy of the people," said Jyoti Marwah, an expert working on the cultivation of aromatic plants. "In addition to urbanization, another factor is that these berries are deciduous in nature and shed their leaves during winters and out of ignorance people cut them thinking that they have dried up," Sharma said.
Kingod grows on small bushes in rocky areas and is a dark blue or indigo coloured berry that has a sweet and sour taste. It has a number of medicinal properties and is used for the treatment of diabetes, skin disease, jaundice and eye infections. Hisar or Hisalu (Rubus ellipticus) which is also known as Himalayan Raspberry, is a yellow coloured berry that is very sweet in taste. It is traditionally useful for treating fever, colic coughs and sore throat.

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