06 September 2013

VIBGYOR Series - 'O' for 'Orange' - The Flame of the forest

This post is part of the Chennai Bloggers Club's CBC VIBGYOR BLOG TAG where some
of us will write a post on the colours of VIBGYOR each day starting 1st of September to 
the 7th of September. The colour theme for today's post is ORANGE.

The color orange is believed to emit warmth and happiness, stimulates enthusiasm and creativity and it is also said to be one of the healing color.

As we saw the golden shower tree in the previous post, here we gonna see yet another native tree of India which is popularly known as 'Flame of the forest'. As like the name describes the bright orange colored flowers of this tree looks like a flame of fire when seen in clusters. As like the Golden shower tree, this 'flame of the forest tree' has also been given a commemoration by the Indian Postal Department by issuing a postal stamp after it.

Nomenclature :

Botanical Name     :    Butea monosperma

Common Name     :    Flame of the forest / Palash / Dhak / Palah / Parrot tree /Keshu (Punjabi) /                                           Kesudo (Gujarati) / Modugu chettu (Andhra Pradesh) / Palas,Palashi (Bengali)

Tamil Name          :     Parasu / Porasum / Parasa

Hindi Name           :    Chichra tesu / Kankrei

Butea monosperma/ Flame of the forest is a tree that comes under the family of Fabaceae and it is native tree of India and Southeast Asia. They are also called as parrot tree. This tree is of 6 to 12 m height. This tree has irregular branches with gray bark. The flower of this tree are bright orange colored and said to be in full bloom from January to March. The flowers are said to have five petals that constitutes of either one standard wing or two smaller wings. The flower is also believed to have a curved keel (prow/bow-shaped pair of petals) and this is the reason why this tree is also called as the parrot tree due to its curved keel. It is said that this tree kills mosquitoes. As the vibrant color and smell of the flowers attracts them, they get caught in the fluid gum of this tree, so that they can't escape. It is also said that the eggs laid in this tree never gets hatched.

Flower of the 'Flame of the forest tree'

Images Source : Internet 

The leaves of this tree are dark green in color. This tree is also known as a sacred tree since the leaves has the trifoliate pattern. Ancient people believed that those three leaflets represents Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The flame of the forest tree is said to be associated with the spring season in West Bengal and it was associated by none other than the great poet Rabindranath Tagore in his poems. He felt that these bright orange color flowers of this trees resembles the fire.

Another interesting fact about this tree is, the infusion of flowers of this tree gives us a wonderful coloring substance which are said to be used in water-paint and for making dyes. In ancient days, it is believed to be used for making color for the Holi festival.

Health benefits, medicinal and other uses :

           ~*  I read somewhere in the web that a good charcoal can be obtained form this tree.

           ~* The gum from this tree is said to be a powerful astringent which are used for treating hemorrhage from stomach, diarrhea and dysentery.
           ~* The bark of this tree is believed to possess astringent bitter and pungent properties.

           ~* It is used for curing tumors and ulcers.

           ~* It is used in the treatment of spleen disorders and digestive disorders.

           ~* The decoction is used for the treatment of cold, cough and fever.

           ~* Even the leaves of this tree is said to possess the astringent property as like the bark. They are used to cure boils and pimples.

           ~* The root part is used for treating elephantiasis, night blindness and for other eyesight defects.

           ~* The flower part is used in the treatment of leprosy and to reduce swellings.

           ~* The powder made from this flower is used for healing fractured bones and used for healthy bones.

            ~* Since the leaves of this tree are strong , they are also used as wrapping papers

Note : Strictly consult your physician before using it.

References :


Hope these orange flowers would have brighten up your day ! Have a nice day :) 


  1. I know this.. I know this.. We take the leaves and make fake nails with it la.. I used to do that to scare people in my school days.

    1. No no Prasanna.. The tree you are mentioning is Gulmohar tree which also comes under the same category of Flame trees. You can easily differentiate between these trees with their flowers. The flower of this tree looks curved like a parrot's nose as you see in the above image.

  2. Replies
    1. No Uma. The Gulmohar tree also comes under the category of Flame trees, but this is different one with curved flowers :)

  3. Good piece of info....the flower is attractive too!

    1. Thanks Akash :) yep its color is vibrant !

  4. Beautiful tree. I see them here in Bangalore.

    1. Thanks Rajesh ji :) They can be seen throughout India :)

  5. That's really interesting, I mean the fact the tree kills mosquitoes. Orange is such a beautiful color.

    1. Ya I wondered about the same fact Saru :)

  6. I saw this growing all over Oahu (Hawaii) on my first visit to the islands recently, and became emotional and nostalgic immediately. These are very valued as shade trees in Hawaii and the specimens I saw were huge and massive, easily several stories high! Such beautiful trunk and branches and superbly formed canopy too.

    Palash or Tesu flowers were also used in ancient times to make wet holi colors. They were soaked for many days, and the colored water was great for the skin as well!


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