Posted by: cochinblogger | July 31, 2020

African Tulip Tree

The virus had not immediately erupted in epidemic form, but it had seeded itself. Then the seeds began to sprout into flowers of flame. — John Barry in The Great Influenza

My first glimpse of this tree was from the Kochi Metro near Edappally. The scarlet flowers held clear off the dark green foliage caught my eye. Unexpectedly, I then found a lone individual near the Kadavumbagam Synagogue on Market Road. Fading scarlet flowers lay scattered on the road. I picked one up and took it home.

I found the tree in Discover Avenue Trees by Karthikeyan. The flower I'd brought back with me helped in the identification. It's the African Tulip tree or Nandi Flame (Spathodea campanulata), called Rugtoora in Hindi, Phaauntanmaram (fountain tree) or Sphathoodiya in Malayalam, Patadi in Tamil, Akash Shevga in Marathi, and Rudrapalash in Bengali. It belongs to the jacaranda family, and its home is Africa, where it is put to a wide variety of medicinal uses.

Try as I might, despite repeated attempts, I was not able to get a clear shot of the flower. One day, the season, the light, and the time of day conspired with my presence to gift me what I wanted. The contrast between the fiery red and soothing green, moderated by the brown of the seed pods, is pleasing.

And, yes, however brightly a flower may burn, it must one day fade.

Note: Click on the photo to enlarge it.

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