Flame of the Forest Tree

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Flame of the Forest

***** Location: India
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Plant


There are two trees very similar:

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Delonix regia is a species of flowering plant from the Fabaceae family, noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. Often grown as an ornamental tree and given the name Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant, it is also known as
Gulmohar, Peacock Flower
, Flame of the Forest, Malinche, Krishnachuda and one of several named the Flame tree.
The species was previously placed in a genus Poinciana, named for Phillipe de Longviliers de Poincy who is credited with introducing the plant to the Americas.

The tree's vivid red/vermilion/orange/yellow flowers and bright green foliage make it an exceptionally striking sight.

The Royal Poinciana is endemic to Madagascar, where it is found in the West Malagasy forest. In the wild it is endangered, but it is widely cultivated elsewhere. In addition to its ornamental value, it is also a useful shade tree in tropical conditions, because it usually grows to a modest height (typically around 5 m, though it can reach as high as 12 m) but spreads widely, and its dense foliage provides full shade. In areas with a marked dry season, it sheds its leaves during the drought, but in other areas it is virtually evergreen.
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Delonix regia

In India it is known as Gulmohar (Hindi and Urdu -‘Gul’ means ‘Flower’ and ‘Mohr’ is 'Peacock', thus the name suggests a spectacular show of color, like the extraordinary colors of a peacock's tail). It is also known there as Krishnachura (Bengali: 'crown of the Lord Krishna).
In Vietnamese it is known as Phượng vĩ (means "Phoenix's Tail) (Vietnamese), Malinche, and Tabachine. In Guatemala, Antigua Guatemala, it is known as "Llama del Bosque".
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Butea monosperma (syn. Butea frondosa, Erythrina monosperma, Plaso monosperma; Palash, Dhak, Flame of the Forest or Parrot Tree), is a species of Butea native to tropical southern Asia, from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and western Indonesia. Also known as kesudo in Gujarati.

It is a medium sized dry season-deciduous tree, growing to 15 m tall. The leaves are pinnate, with an 8-16 cm petiole and three leaflets, each leaflet 10-20 cm long. The flowers are 2.5 cm long, bright orange-red, and produced in racemes up to 15 cm long. The fruit is a pod 15-20 cm long and 4-5 cm broad.
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kigo for spring in India

Palash is not grown in gardens, it is truly a forest plant. If you happen to stand on a hill and look into a valley, the Palash flowers look just wonderful.


Worldwide use


Flamboyant Tree (Swahili : Mjohoro)



Flame of the Forest (Delonix regia)

Things found on the way


orange flares
draped in blue
dhak trees

just a few days before holi the dhak trees also known as palash or Flame of the forest shed their leaves and burst forth into beautiful deep orange blooms. Seen against the backdrop of a clear blue spring sky the orange flowers look like an enchanting design on a lady's blue attire.
The flowers which drop down are collected to prepare traditionally used colours for playing holi. just a couple of days after holi it is difficult to see the flowers as new leaves start appearing again on the branches and one has to wait full one year for that mesmerising scene to unfold itself again.

Dr.Vidur Jyoti, March 2008


a gulmohar
carpets the hillside

Rohini Gupta – Mumbai
World Haiku Review 6, 2008


gust of wind
in the gulmohar shadow
a sprinkle of red petals

Sandip Sital Chauhan

Related words

***** Holi Festival.. Dol Yatra (the Swing Festival)



Anonymous said...

like a red rose
in a white bunch..
flame of the forest

Greetings from Heike Gewi

Anonymous said...

Dear Gabi,
I simply love the treasure trove of knowledge that is your blog. Thank you for all the delightful information and beautiful Haiku. Very inspiring and engaging work.

Regards - Saraswathi