ORANGE PALASH & Red Semul
Palash is Butea monosperma. The flowers are Yellow and Orange-red in colour.
Rudrapalash is Spathodea campanulata. I have yet spotted only its Orange-red flower, but have also read about the yellow variety.
RUDRAPALASH Flowers – Note its five petals, one pistil and 4 stamens. The Bud is ampule-shaped, and might contain water. Flowers get displayed in a terminal corymb-like raceme inflorescence. Flower has a yellow margin and a throat.
PALASH Flowers – They are also five petalled, but notice that two of their petals remain glued, giving the flower a 3-D hook or a horn-shape. Stamens and pistil remain inside this horn. DHAK or Palash flowers also bloom in racemes (a flower cluster with the separate flowers attached by short equal stalks at equal distances along a central stem).
Yellow Palash or Yellow Moduga is the rare Butea monosperma variety Lutea which is considered a new plant in the process of evolution and not yet recognized as a separate sub-species. The buds are whitish-yellow in colour. Yellow palash has a lot of medicinal and commercial value. Its bark is also placed as offering during Laxmi puja. Butea monosperma is considered endangered. Very few Yellow palash trees can be spotted.
The bloom of Orange-red Palash announces the arrival of Spring. Among its various names are –
Flame of the Forest
Vishalnarayan or Chamata (Malayalam)
(Palash & Golden Trumpet)
Palash trees are upto 50 feet tall. Palash is the state flower of Jharkhand. It is ubiquitous in Bengal. Tagore was very fond of these flowers (and Champa), and Shantiniketan has numerous Palash trees. Kipling mentioned Dhak trees in Jungle Book. The Mango Grove of Plassey gets its name from Palash.
The wood of Palash tree is used to make harinee,which is used to pour ghee in agnihotra (fire ritual). It is said that the flower represents Kamdev’s nails. In Gita Govinda, Jayadeva also compares a leafless Palash tree with a net of a Kinshuk flowers.
These TESU flowers also give off colour when soaked in water , which is still used to play Holi. In case they are not able to locate dead bodies of their kin , Meities of Manipur bury branches of Palash tree instead.
There is a Hindi saying – “Dhak ke teen paat”, which means ‘everything always remains the same ‘, because dhak always has three leaves. The dhak/palash tree has a pinnate leaf, with a 8-16 cm long petiole and three leaflets .
Rudrapalash is also known as –
African Tulip Tree
African Tulips reach upto 80 feet in height. They are classified as invasive species.Their wood is soft, and flowers juicy. Birds use this tree to make nests in their bark, and suck nectar. Due to their inkpot like shape which can hold water, the flowers are popular with birds . Leaves are pinnate and leathery.
The early spring in Bengal,esp. Kolkata belongs to Palash and Rudrapalash. Yes, there are Red/ Orange Semuls and Golden Trumpets, but it is mostly orange-coloured divine flowers that give Rangotsava its colour.
Yellow Palash & Rudrapalash
All these pictures correspond to trees in SALT LAKE, KOLKATA, including the CENTRAL PARK.
#Palash #Rudrapalash #Yellowpalash