Pride of Burma
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Pride of Burma
ntroduced Photo: Aarti Khale
Common name: Pride of Burma, Orchid tree, Tree of heaven • Malayalam: Shimshipavrisham • Bengali: Urbasi
Botanical name: Amherstia nobilis    Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)

Pride of Burma is a tropical tree with exceptionally beautiful flowers. It is also known as the Orchid Tree, a name otherwise reserved for members of the genus Bauhinia. The extravagant flowers are seen hanging from the long inflorescence, or flower stalk, which is a bright crimson red at the end. There are 5 petals although 2 of these are minute and the rest are of unequal size. The petals are also crimson; the two medium sized petals are yellow at the tip and the largest petal is broad and fan-shaped with a wavy upper margin and a yellow triangle of colour extending from the lip down into the flower. This large petal may be 7.5 cm long and over 4 centimetres wide at the end. There are either 9 or 10 stamens, 9 of which are partially fused into a pink sheath; the stamens are of two differing lengths with the longer ones having larger anthers. The compound leaves bear 6 - 8 large leaflets; these are broadly oblong in shape and are a whitish colour underneath. The fruits, or seedpods, are 11-20 cm long. They are roughly scimitar-shaped and the woody outer case opens to disperse the seeds. Pride of Burma is very rare in the wild and has only been collected in native habitat a few times. It is native to Burma (Myanmar) hence the common name.

Identification credit: Chancy Photographed in Maharashtra and Kerala.

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