Kaleidoscope of nature

Kaleidoscope of nature

Propagation of gulmohar, copper pod, golden shower tree are all either by seeds, stumps or by seedlings either procured from nurseries, writes Rashmi Shrinivas.

Gulmohar the most common tree, often seen to line the roads in the City, is known even to young school going children, because of its bright red flowers that bloom generally in the month of May. It is also known as May flower.

These flowers, often found either in blood red or orange shades, are popular among children. In some varieties, one of the petals, larger than others, is white and bears reddish spots on it. Also known as royal poinciana, flamboyant tree, flame tree etc, this tree botanically known as delonix regia, belongs to the subfamily caesalpiniaceae (ratnagandhi family) of the family leguminaceae and acquires the shape of an umbrella with its spreading branches and firm, thick trunk.

One can hardly resist admiring the awesome look of the tree! But all this glory lasts hardly for a month or two. Pollinated and successfully fertilised flowers turn into large flat pods of the size of about one-two feet in length and one and a half inch in width. These pods turn into dark brown colour when ripe.

Since they resemble large knives, this tree is also known as katti kayi mara locally (in Kannada, katti means knife). Propagation is by seeds enclosed in the pods. Actually in monsoon lot of seedlings appear below such trees which can easily be transplanted at a suitable place of your choice. This grows very well in any kind of well drained soil and does not need any maintenance. Its large spreading branches provide shade also. Hence it is popularly grown as ornamental and shade giving road lining tree. It is good idea to try to bonsai this tree.

Copper pod tree

Its cousin, copper pod tree, botanically known as peltophorum pterocarpum, is a similar tree with large canopy of bipinnately compound leaves, bearing bright yellow flowers in bunches that stand upright at the tip of the branches.
These flowers are slightly smaller and delicate and have brown lines at the base of the petals. Its leaves are smaller than that of gulmohar and jacaranda though they look similar.

This tree, also known as yellow poinciana, yellow flamboyant, yellow flame tree etc flowers profusely and flowering season is much longer. It generally starts flowering as early as in January and continues to flower even in the month of May. Even when older flowers turn into pods, new flowers continue to bloom.

Its close cousin, cassia siamea, is a similar and smaller tree bearing similar yellow flowers in bunches, but bunches of flowers are generally faced upwards and the leaf-lets of the leaves are slightly broader, round at the base, pointed at the tip. It flowers generally in the month of March and the flowering season is much short compared to copper pod tree and is a common road lining tree.

Their another cousin, golden shower tree (kakke mara in Kannada), botanically known as cassia fistula, is also a smaller tree but flowers profusely in large drooping bunches of bright yellow flowers and hence the name. It is the most beautiful tree among the cassias. It is also known as Indian laburnum. These flowers bloom at the time of Hindu New year in March-April every year.

Though many cassia species bear yellow coloured flowers, there is yet another species bearing pink flowers too. This is called cassia javanica and with its almost horizontally spreading long branches bearing bunches of flowers in pink is a popular road lining tree as well. This flowers generally in the month of April and May, though climatic changes may affect the flowering pattern often. This too is rare a road lining tree, but easily noticeable because of pink coloured flowers unusual to the genus.

Being of the same subfamily, all these flowers resemble the gulmohar flower to some extent. Propagation of all these trees is either by seeds, stumps or by seedlings either procured from nurseries or collected from the area below the respective trees where they grow in monsoon.

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