FoI
Flame of the Forest   
Foto info
Flame of the Forest
D Native
Photo: Tabish
Common name: Flame of the Forest, bastard teak, battle of Plassey tree, Bengal kino, palas tree, parrot tree • Assamese: বিপৰ্ণক bipornok, কিংশুক kingxuk, পলাশ polax • Bengali: পলাশ palash • Gujarati: કેસૂડો kesudo, ખાખરો khakhro, પલાશ palash • Hindi: ढाक dhak, पलाश palash, टेसू tesu • Kannada: ಮುತ್ತುಗ muttuga, ಪಲಾಶ palasha • Konkani: पळस palas • Malayalam: ചമത chamata, കിംശുകം kinsukam, പ്ലാശ് plaas • Manipuri: পাঙ গোঙ pangong • Marathi: ढाक dhak, पळस palas • Nepali: पलाँस palans • Oriya: ପଳାଶ palasha • Sanskrit: किंशुक kimshuka, पलाश palasha • Tamil: கிஞ்சுகம் kincukam, பலாசம் palasam • Telugu: కింశుకము kimsukamu, పలాశము palasamu • Urdu: ڐهاك dhak
Botanical name: Butea monosperma    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Butea frondosa, Butea braamania, Plaso monosperma

Native to India, Flame of the Forest is a medium sized tree, growing from 20 to 4O feet high, and the trunk is usually crooked and twisted with irregular branches and rough, grey bark. The leaves are pinnate, with an 8-16 cm petiole and three leaflets, each leaflet 10-20 cm long. The hindi phrase ढाक के तीन पात ("Dhaak ke teen paat") comes from the prominent three leaflets of this tree. It is seen in all its ugliness in December and January when most of the leaves fall: but from January to March it truly becomes a tree of flame, a riot of orange and vermilion flowers covering the entire crown. These flowers, which are scentless, are massed along the ends of the stalks--dark velvety green like the cup-shaped calices--and the brilliance of the stiff, bright flowers is shown off to perfection by this deep, contrasting colour. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this keel which gives it the name of Parrot Tree. In olden days, the flowers of Tesu were used to make color for the festival of Holi. In Manipur, there is an interesting cultural use of the wood of this tree with beautiful flowers - when a member of the Meitei community dies and, for some reasons, his body cannot be be found, the wood of this tree is cremated in place of the body.
A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.

Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Singh Photographed in Delhi & Maharashtra.

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