Kohefiza’s Surprise ::  Tabebuia Rosea-alba in Bloom

Departing spring has flashed before me one of the most marvellous sights of the season. I feel blessed to have come across a full-sized TABEBUIA ROSEA-ALBA, that is, White Ipe, in its full bloom. I take morning walks in and around Kohefiza, the hill where blows the gentlest of breeze. It is a locality in Bhopal, situated in close proximity with the Bhojtaal or the Bada Talaab (Upper Lake).  I took a left turn at Hotel Imperial Sabre, while walking on the VIP Road from Lal Ghati towards the Lake, and climbed up the hill. Walking past ex-MP and Olympian Aslam Sher Khan’s bungalow brought me upon a kachcha road headed towards the Saifia College.

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It was on this dust-way, with the greenish dome of the Sufia Masjid glowing on my right, that the majestic WHIITE IPE, revealed its virat-roop to me. The sight was so majestic that I stopped in my tracks and was left awestruck. I spent the next half hour admiring, clicking and studying this tree and its features. The tree is 30-35 ft tall, with an irregular, open crown, and rough brown, furrowed bark. T.Rosea-alba is a hardy tree, and grows handsomely in well-drained areas. The hard dense-wood is used to manufacture furniture.

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Tabebuia rosea-alba is also known as White Ipe, Ipe Branco and LAPACHO BLANCO. Tabebuia rosea is, of course, pink trumpet, and the shapes of the flowers of both these trees is quite similar- fragile corolla with soft petals and are funnel-like. Both bloom as terminal clusters on the branches. Humming birds, bees and insects (as pollinators) buzz around the tree with great devotion. White Ipe is native to Brazil, and is also common in Argentina. It is grown as a honey tree in these two countries. In India, it is cultivated as an ornamental tree in streets, parkings and patios.

Leaves are compound, and grow in threes or fives. Flowers appear when trees have all fallen, so the sighting is all white and brown. Fruits appear later as long, hard brown pods. (text contd.)

I left the site wondering why is the flower not called as White Trumpet, despite the obvious temptation? Googling did not give me any answer. I must befriend a botanist, I resolved, and bid goodbye to His Majesty Tabebuia Rosea-alba.

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