Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gulmohar: A beauty from Chennai

The fern-like leaves. Weird looking branches. Pods which were once green and tender but now dark brown and opened. The flamboyant flowers. I took this photo of a gulmohar tree from my balcony in Chennai. And I like it. Rather proud of the image.

Gulmohar belongs to the Fabaceae family. This tropical tree which is endemic to Madagascar is now grown in many parts of the world. It has several names which include - Royal Poinciana, Delonix Regia, Peacock Flower, Flamboyant Tree, Flame of the Forest, and Krishnachura. It is also sometimes called Flame Tree though that name is not exclusive to it.

The ornamental gulmohar is usually planted as a shade tree. It does not grow very tall. Normally the height is about 7m but some of them grow to 12m. The tree branches out and spreads nicely providing good shade. An avenue lined with gulmohar in full bloom is a beautiful sight. We have several of them in Indian cities and towns.

Propagation can be through cuttings and seeds. The cuttings are difficult to root. Even germinating the seeds is not easy because they have a thick coating. Tissue culture saplings are available. A gulmohar plant takes about 5 to 10 years to mature and start flowering.

According to recent reports, scientists of the Regional Research Laboratory in Bhubaneshwar, India, have found a method of producing environment friendly natural dyes from different parts of gulmohar flowers. These can be used in coloring silk and cotton. This is indeed good news in a country that produces 64000 tons of synthetic dyes every year.

Did you know that gulmohar is considered to be one of the most beautiful trees in the world?

Ends

[Photos: Top two by me. Copyright reserved. Bottom one from Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain. Click on images for enlarged view.]

Also see:

Jasmine (Jasminum): Flowers for beauty and for money

Kerala Flowers?

10 comments:

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RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Flamboyant is just the word - I love the tree in its flwoering season.

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Sunita said...

Did you know there is a yellow gul mohur too?
I was singing the praises of my deep red and orange gul mohurs which were in bloom in my garden when a friend in Australia told me about the yellow one which is quite commonly seen in Hawaii. I can just imagine all three blooming next to each other.... it would look like a giant bonfire!

Maddy said...

sadly that was one reason i had to sell a house, the roots, teh leaves and flowers became so much of a nuisance that we had to say goodbye to the house..teh tree could not be trimmed or touched..

Abraham Tharakan said...

Yes, Raji, gulmohars in full bloom is a great sight.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Sunita, I have not seen yellow gumohars. The three shades blooming next to each other would be beautiful.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Well, Maddy, sometime good things have bad sides too.

yamini priya said...

can anyone locate where these flowers are available in and around chennai......
these flowers are rich in antioxidants and are very good for cancer patients......
i am a research scholar and wanted to do a project with these flowers....
please do help me......

yamini priya said...

can anyone locate where are these flowers available in and around chennai....
i am a research scholar and wanted to do my project with these flowers....
please do help me.......