The season of resplendent colours

The season of resplendent colours

With the warm weather and bright blue skies, it is springtime when Mother Nature is at her verdant best. The highlight of the season is the rejuvenation and blossoming of our plants and trees. The brilliant splash of colours exemplifies the landscape and transforms it into a magical wonderland. An otherwise mundane locale revamps into a vividly picturesque spot when the roadside trees are in bloom. Strolling beneath their shade upon the soft bed of fallen flowers revelling in their crisp fragrance is a sheer delight. Besides imparting virtuous beauty, the flowers attract bees, birds and butterflies which aid in pollination and foster the creation of a new generation.

Flowering trees

“Amongst the flowering trees of our state, some are native and some have been introduced over the years. The native trees bear cultural significance and their parts are known to have therapeutic values,” says Naveen Kumar, a horticulture specialist.

There are many native tropical and subtropical trees that bloom in spring. Blossoms of the Bakula tree are regarded as harbingers of spring. The small white sweet smelling flowers are found in bunches and fall from the tree by morning. They are dried and preserved and used to make garlands. Also, they are known to have cooling, astringent and antihelmintic effects. Neem is a fast-growing evergreen tree commonly seen across rural and urban homes. The small white fragrant flowers bloom during Yugadi festival.

Champaka tree blossoms in the late spring and summer. Found in varying shades from cream to yellow and orange, these flowers with strong fragrance do attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Pongamia tree is an evergreen tree mostly seen on roadsides. It forms a large dense canopy providing ample shade. Its white, pink, purple blossoms are small and look like buds. Another ornamental tree blooming in late spring is the golden shower tree (kakke mara) seen in rural areas. The yellow flowers add charm to the environment. Flame of the forest trees, blooming from January to March, are associated with spring. They bear large bright orange and vermillion flowers. The queen’s flower (hole dasavala) is grown in gardens, parks and on roadsides and yields white to purple flowers during summer. Kadam tree named after the Kadamba dynasty of Karnataka – blooms from March through September. The yellow flowers look like badminton balls and are ornamental and fragrant and used in making perfumes. Grown on roadsides, they are regarded as sacred. The Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca) is considered sacred, too, and blooms from February to April. The tiny red flowers are seen in lush bunches, are ornamental and have medicinal value. Several other fruit trees like mangoes and java plums also flower in this season.

Exotic flowers

Although not native, many trees have become part of the flora mainly in urban areas. One such spectacular tree is the Jacaranda that blooms in February and March. After losing all its leaves in winter, it gets laden with blue-purple flowers in spring. Gulmohar is an extravagant tree which can grow up to 40 feet to form a tall canopy. Gulmohar flowers are intense orange-red hued and are found in clusters, adding colour to the landscape.

A tropical tree, frangipani, blooms in the warmer months and bears clusters of colourful scented flowers. Frangipani trees are frequently used in landscaping. Raintree is a large tree with an umbrella-like canopy that blooms in the season. Flowers are pink and white and have bristles like a brush. Nandi flame trees are huge and bear red ornamental flowers.

During recent years, the trees that have stolen the spotlight are the Tabebuia genus. These spring flowering trees are suitable for avenue planting, farmhouses and big gardens. They are seen in an assortment of hues like pale pink, bright pink and yellow.

Among the creepers blooming in spring, the first that comes to mind is the ubiquitous bougainvillaea. These are actually clusters of coloured sepals and not real flowers. Nevertheless, as long as they look appealing, the botanical narrative does not matter at all. You can find these fragile flowers in a diverse range of hues. Blue morning glory too blooms during late spring and summer. Its funnel-shaped flowers being bright blue in colour are ornamental.

Generally, after the first shower, coffee shrubs give rise to startling fragile flower tufts that are pure white in colour, aromatic, and are quite similar to jasmine. When in full bloom, the coffee estates of Chikkamagaluru, Kodagu and Sakleshpur are sights to behold.

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