We read in text books in school without giving much thought that a good king apart from providing food, water and shelter to the citizens also planted trees to give shade to the weary traveler passing through his kingdom. Now, when we walk through the many Gulmohar and Indian laburnum lined roads in Mysore, we cannot thank enough the maharajahs (kings) for being so thoughtful and planting trees all around the city. Gulmohar trees especially add color and beauty to the city when they bloom during summer and when combined with the yellow flowers of Indian laburnum tree the look is absolutely awesome.
Picture1 – Gulmohar lined roads
Gulmohar being my favorite tree inspired me to nib paint a branch of this tree with flowers and a bird of the same hue perched on it.
Picture2 – Nib Painting
A 19th century discovery, Gulmohar or Delonix regia is a species of flowering plant from the Fabaceae family found in Madagascar by botanist Wensel Bojer. The other common names given to this tree are Royal Poinciana, Flamboyant, Flame of the Forest, Krishnachura and Peacock flower. Gulmohar tree when in full bloom is flamboyant and the blooms cover the whole tree revealing very few leaves. The summer months are very suitable for the tree to bloom.
Picture3 – Gulmohar Flowers
Gulmohar needs a tropical or sub-tropical climate, but can tolerate heat and humid conditions. It is very widely grown in the Caribbean, some parts of North America, Hong Kong, the Cananry Islands, Taiwan, India and southern China.
Picture4 – Gulmohar tree
Most common are trees with bright red or orange flowers. But, there are some rare trees with yellow flowers and white flowers. Each flower comprises of 5 petals, 4 of them will be in bright red or orange and the 5th one is streaked in yellow and white. The flowers have their own distinct smell. The leaves look very delicate comprising of small individual leaflets supporting the flower clusters. These leaves fold up during the evenings. The tree grows to a height of 30-40 feet tall, but its branches spread wide to form an awning. Hence, this tree is mainly planted for its ornamental value and to provide shade.
So it is no wonder that the Gulmohar is the national flower of St. Kitts, Nevis and official tree of Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and city tree of Tainan in Taiwan.