nature walk: Getting to know trees

Gulmohar — Canopy of red regalia

Gulmohar — Canopy of red regalia

Amaltas is a fast growing medium sized perennial tree about 30-50 feet high. It sheds leaves which reappear after the bloom is over, towards the end of June.

Delonix regia, popularly called Gulmohar, belongs to family of Fabaceae likes warm tropical climate and thrive best in Tropical and Sub tropical region. It is one of the earliest ornamental trees planted in the history of Indian Urban Landscape as Avenue plant and in the parks. So commonly it is found on roads that it’s also called a ‘Street Tree’.

Gulmohar is fast growing and easy to grow tree and considered as one of the most elegant trees with Ornament brilliance giving pride to your garden. It's beautiful foliage and orange-red or red flowers which bloom from end April to even August when complimented with synchronized flowering of Amaltas is a treat to eyes. It is a large deciduous tree and the leaves turns yellow when shedding takes place in November and remains bare till end March.

The tree bark is slightly rough greyish brown in colour which facilitates easy hole evasions for cavity nesting birds like common Myna. The leaves are compound bipinnate, paripinnate, feathery, leaflets opposite, rachis long swollen at the base. The flowers appear in loose cluster each with five spoon shaped petals.

The flowers are arranged in corymbose raceme. Sepals are five, thick, green outside and red inside. Petals five, four spoon shaped, spreading and one conspicuous, different than others in colour. Stamens ten, polyandrous, grouped around the style. Pods are green and flaccid when young which later turn dark brown and woody which remain long time on the tree.

Amarjeet Singh Batth


Things to remember while planting

  • Where to plant: Delonix regia is one of the most elegant trees with Ornament brilliance giving pride to your garden and is one of the earliest ornamental trees planted in the history of Indian Urban Landscape as Avenue or Park plant. So commonly it is found now on the roads that it's called a ‘Street Tree’.
  • When to plant: New Plantation is done during Feb- March and July-August. Prepare a pit of 3’x3’ feet and two feet deep and expose the pit for about one week. Of the soil taken from the pit, in top half part add equal part of well rotten farm yard manure and mix it well so that no lumps exits and then fill it with the mixture and top up with the water. After one week, as the soil settles and manure heat cools down, place the sapling and tighten the soil by pressing it hard and irrigate it immediately. Planting distance for a avenue is 30-30 feet plant to plant depending upon the planting arrangement.
  • Care and upkeep: The tree blooms more when it gets abundant water other than the ground water. It has a shallow root system and often takes the brunt of storms which damages or uproot the tree. It requires care in the first two years and once the tree is established apart from regular irrigation and twice a year in July and Dec manure dose it just need much attention. Regular pruning to maintain the shape and removal of dead and broken wood is done round the year.

Primarily used for floral beauty

It is primarily planted for shade and floral beauty which has inspired many poets, writers and artists and extensively find mention in their works.

Gulmohar, however, does not have timber value but yields quality charcoal. The bark, leaves and flowers used as purgative, well tree has no medicinal value and is seldom affected by diseases and pests. It is has great cultural significance in Kerala.

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