African tulip tree is a large upright tree with glossy deep green pinnate leaves and glorious orange scarlet flowers. The tree has a stout, tapering, somewhat buttressed trunk covered in warty light gray bark. The lateral branches are short and thick. The 1-2 ft long opposite leaves, which emerge a bronzy color, are massed at the ends of the branches. They are composed of 5-19 deeply veined oval leaflets. The horn shaped velvety olive buds appear in upturned whorls at the branch tips. A few at a time, the buds of the lowest tier bend outward and open into big crinkled red orange tulip-like bells with red streaked gold throats, frilly yellow edges, and four brown-anthered stamens in the center. They are followed by 5-10 in green brown finger-like pods pointing upwards and outwards above the foliage. Each of these pods contains about 500 tissue papery seeds. The tree flowers in spurts all through the growing season.
Ashoka is one of the most legendary and sacred trees of India, and one of the most fascinating flowers in the Indian range of flower essences. Ashok is a Sanskrit word meaning without grief or that which gives no grief. Indigenous to India, Burma and Malaya, it is an erect tree, small and evergreen, with a smooth, grey-brown bark. The crown is compact and shapely. Flowers are usually to be seen throughout the year, but it is in January and February that the profusion of orange and scarlet clusters turns the tree into an object of startling beauty. Pinned closely on to every branch and twig, these clusters consist of numerous, small, long-tubed flowers which open out into four oval lobes. Yellow when young, they become orange then crimson with age and from the effect of the sun's rays. From a ring at the top of each tube spread several long, half-white, half-crimson, stamens which give an hairy appearance to the flower clusters. In strong contrast to these fiery blooms is the deep-green, shiny foliage. The foot-long leaves each have four, five or six pairs of long, wavy-edged, leaflets. Young leaves are soft, red and limp and remain pendent even after attaining full size.
Babool is a medium to large tree, native to West Asia, that can reach a height of 10 m, with an average of 4-7 m in height. The bark is blackish grey or dark brown in mature trees and deeply grooved, with longitudinal fissures. Paired, slender, straight spines grow from a single base and sometimes curve backwards, are up to 80 mm long and whitish but often reddish brown in colour. The leaves are twice compound, i.e. they consist of 5-11 feather-like pairs of pinnae; each pinna is further divided into 7-25 pairs of small, elliptic leaflets that can be bottle to bright green in colour. Flowers are bright yellow, numerous, in fluffy globular heads 1.2 cm diameter, usually in clusters of 2 to 6, on individual pubescent axillary stalks 1.5 to 2 cm long.
This large deciduous tropical tree, 75' tall and indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, is listed as a rare tree and flower in India. The leaves, up to 6" long, are simple with serrate margin; it flowers in racemes which is cauliflorus; the yellow, reddish and pink flowers are stunning fragrant. These are 3" to 5" waxy aromatic smelling, pink and dark-red flowers growing directly on the bark of the trunk. The tree bears, directly on the trunk and main branches, large globose woody fruits; they look like big rusty cannonballs hanging in clusters, like balls on a string. Cannon ball trees usually carry 'CAUTION' signs posted on the trunks to advise people not to stand close to and directly under the fruits as one can get hurt as they drop off by themselves. The fruit contains small seeds in a white, unpleasant smelling white jelly, which are exposed when the upper half of the fruit goes off like a cover. The long dangling fruity branches give the tree an unkempt appearance. The hard shells are used to make containers and utensils. Cannon ball flowers are considered of special significance in Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka. In Tamil Nadu, it is called Nagalingam flower. The sivalingam shape is visible at the center of the flower and snake shaped pollen is the specialty of this flower and it has very good fragrance.
Ceylon Boxwood is a small evergreen tree. Bark is grey, smooth, peeling in vertical long, narrow strips. Leaves are deep green, leathery variable in shape and size, ovate- elliptic or lanceshape, pointed, base narrow, blunt or heart-shaped. Flowers are white or greenish white, fragrant, in stalked flat-topped clusters. Ceylon Boxwood grows wild in most parts of tropical India including the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Chikoo is a fairly slow-growing, long-lived tree, upright and elegant, distinctly pyramidal when young. It is strong and wind-resistant, rich in white, gummy latex. Its leaves are highly ornamental, evergreen, glossy, alternate, spirally clustered at the tips of the forked twigs; elliptic, pointed at both ends, firm. Flowers are small and bell-like, with 3 brown-hairy outer sepals and 3 inner sepals enclosing the pale-green corolla. They are borne on slender stalks at the leaf bases. The fruit may be nearly round, oblate, oval, ellipsoidal, or conical. When immature it is hard, gummy and very astringent. Though smooth-skinned it is coated with a sandy brown scurf until fully ripe. The flesh ranges in color from yellowish to light or dark-brown or sometimes reddish-brown; may be coarse and somewhat grainy or smooth; becomes soft and very juicy, with a sweet flavor resembling that of a pear. Chikoo is native to Central America.
A handsome Indian evergreen tree often planted as an ornamental for its fragrant white flowers that yield a perfume; source of very heavy hardwood used for railroad ties. In old time, the very hard timber was used for making lances. It is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree up to 13 m tall, often buttressed at the base with a trunk up to 90 cm in diameter. It has simple, narrow, oblong, dark green leaves 7-15 cm long, with a whitish underside; the emerging young leaves are red to yellowish pink and drooping. The flowers are 4-7.5 cm diameter, with four white petals and a centre of numerous yellow stamens. The flowers have many uses - they are used to make an incense and also used to stuff pillows in some countries. It is the National tree of Sri Lanka.
The Cocoa tree is native to the Americas. Cocoa trees require constant warmth and rainfall to thrive. They need to be shaded from the strong tropical sun and sheltered from the wind, and grow best in the shade of other trees. Cocoa Tree is a wide-branching evergreen tree. The plant is "cauliflorous" with flowers (and later fruits) protruding directly from the woody branches and trunk. Cacao beans contain the caffeine alkaloid Theobromine, which is a mild stimulant. Cacao is the source of chocolate, which is obtained by roasting and grinding the seeds. Chocolate is also said to contain the chemical Phenylethylamine, a natural amphetamine found in the human brain, which induces a feeling of euphoria.
Frangipani, also known as the Plumeria, is native to warm tropical areas of the Pacific Islands, Caribbean, South America and Mexico. Plumeria may reach a height of 30' to 40' and half as wide. Their widely spaced thick succulent branches are round or pointed, and have long leather, fleshy leaves in clusters near the branch tips. Leaves tend to fall in early winter since they are deciduous and sensitive to cold. Plumeraia rubra acutifolia has very fragrant white flowers with yellow centers. The petals are small and strongly overlapping, giving the impression of a flower in the process of unfolding.
Coral Jasmine should not be confused with the West Indian shrub Cestrum nocturnum, also called queen of the night. Nyctanthes arbortristis literally means, night-blooming sad tree. Grows as large shrub or small tree depending on how it is trained. The large attractive leaves are rough and hairy. The sweet scented flowers are small, attractive with white petals and an orange-red tube in center and bloom profusely, opening at night and drop off in the morning, thus making a carpet of flowers in the morning. Used for worship. Needs warmth during winter months. Use well drained soil and fertilize once a month.
Crape jasmine, a shrub very common in India, generally grows to a height of 6 ft. However, it can also grow into a small tree with a thin, crooked stem. Like many members of the Oleander family, stems exude a milky latex when broken. The large shiny leaves are deep green and are 6 or more inches in length and about 2 inches in width. Crape jasmine blooms in spring but flowers appear sporatically all year. The waxy blossoms are white five-petaled pinwheels that are borne in small clusters on the stem tips. Flowers are commonly used in pooja in north and south India.
This large shrub, which looks like a small tree, sports clusters of waxy flowers that are either white or lavender in color. Each flower consists of five pointed petals and a small, elegant "crown" rising from the center, which holds the stamens. The flowers last long, and in Thailand they are used in various floral arrangements. In India, the plant is common in the compounds of temples. The fruit is a follicle and when dry, seed dispersal is by wind. The seeds with a parachute of hairs, is a delight for small children, who like to blow it and watch it float in the air. This plant plays host to a variety of insects and butterflies.
False Guava is an armed shrub or small tree. Spines arise from leaf axil and are straight. Branchlets have soft hair on them. Leaves are obovate, apex obtuse, base cuneate; hairy along nerves. Leaves are oppositely arranged on horizontal branches. Flowers solitary or paired at the ends of arrested branchlets. Flowers white, turning pale yellow. False Guava is found in India, Sri Lanka, SE Asia. It is also found in the Himalayas.
Native to India, Flame of the Forest is a medium sized tree, growing from 20 to 40 feet high, and the trunk is usually crooked and twisted with irregular branches and rough, grey bark. The leaves are pinnate, with an 8-16 cm petiole and three leaflets, each leaflet 10-20 cm long. The hindi phrase ढाक के तीन पात ("Dhaak ke teen paat") comes from the prominent three leaflets of this tree. It is seen in all its ugliness in December and January when most of the leaves fall: but from January to March it truly becomes a tree of flame, a riot of orange and vermilion flowers covering the entire crown. These flowers, which are scentless, are massed along the ends of the stalks--dark velvety green like the cup-shaped calices--and the brilliance of the stiff, bright flowers is shown off to perfection by this deep, contrasting colour. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this keel which gives it the name of Parrot Tree. In olden days, the flowers of Tesu were used to make color for the festival of Holi. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.
Champa is very well known flower native to the Himalayas, and popular for its fragrant flowers. It is a tree up to 50 m or taller, up to 1.9 m d.b.h. Flowers are fragrant, tepals 15-20, yellow, inverted-lanceshaped, 2-4 x 0.4-0.5 cm. Staminal connective is protruding and forming a long tip. Buds, young twigs, young petioles, and young leaf blades are pale yellow velvet-hairy. Leaf-stalks are 2-4 cm, leaves elliptic or ovate, 10-20 x 4.5-10 cm, slightly puberulous below, base broadly wedge-shaped or rounded, tip long-pointed tp falling off. Fruit is 7-15 cm; mature carpels obovoid-ellipsoid, 1-1.5 cm, tuberculate. Seeds 2-4 per carpel, rugose. Champa is found in the Himalayas, up to NE India and SE Asia, at altitudes of 600-1300 m.
This native of India, commonly known as Amaltaas, is one of the most beautiful of all tropical trees when it sheds its leaves and bursts into a mass of long, grape-bunches like yellow gold flowers. A tropical ornamental tree with a trunck consisting of hard reddish wood, growing up to 40 feet tall. The wood is hard and heavy; it is used for cabinet, inlay work, etc. It has showy racemes, up to 2" long, with bright, yellow, fragrant flowers. These flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. The fruits are dark-brown cylindrical pods, also 2' long, which also hold the flattish, brown seeds (up to 100 in one pod) These seeds are in cells, each containing a single seed. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this tree.
Indian Cork Tree is cultivated in most parts of India, both in gardens and avenues. Tall and straight, with comparatively few branches, its popularity lies in its ornamental value. It is a fine tree, fast growing, but with brittle wood, liable to be damaged by storms. In favourable positions it can grow to 24 m tall. The ashy bark is cracked and furrowed and the numerous fissures make removal of the cork an easy matter. It is used as an inferior substitute for true cork. From April until the rains and again in November and December, a profusion of silvery-white, delightfully fragrant flowers crown the foliage. Upright open clusters with arching blooms terminate every branchlet. Each flower is a tiny bell-shaped calyx, a long slender tube of palest green dividing into four waxy, white petals and several conspicuous yellow anthered stamens. Many flowers are delicately tinted with rose. As the flowers are short-lived, the flower sprays mostly consist largely of long whitish buds, while the ground below is spangled with innumerable little stars. Between January and March the leaves are shed and renewed during April and May, although the tree is never quite naked. The long leaves bear two or three widely spaced pinnae, each with five or seven smooth leaflets, oval, pointed and slightly round-toothed. Each is from 2.5 to 7.5 cm. long. Sometimes the lower pinnae, are again divided and bear one pair of three leaved pinnae, one or two pairs of leaflets and one leaflet at the end. The fruit is very long and narrow, pointed at both ends and contains thin flat seeds. Trees do not seed very easily in India. The long, fragrant flowers are commonly woven into an ornamental braid called Veni in Maharashtra.
This is a good tree for small gardens or patios. Its name Thespesia means "divinely decreed". Indian tulip tree is an evergreen bushy tree. It grows to 40 ft or more with a spread of 10–20 ft. It has heart-shaped leaves and cup-shaped yellow flowers that are produced intermittently throughout the year in warm climates. Each flower has a maroon eye that ages to purple. The flowers are followed by apple-shaped fruit.
Kydia is a tall tree with leaves that are dark green and less hairy above, greyish below. Flowers occur in panicles; petals are obovate-obcordate, clawed, densely hairy on both margins at the base, white or pink.
Mexican oleander is a large shrub or a small tree, up to 10 to 20 feet tall with Oleander-like leaves mostly in whorls of three, long and narrow up to 10 inches long. Tip of leafs are pointed with a dark green color. Flowers are generally yellow, but there are varieties with white and orange flowers too. Fruit is small, containing two to four flat seeds. If ingested may experience pain in the mouth and lips, may also develop vomiting, cramping, abdominal pain, nausea and bradycardia shortly after ingestion. Mexican oleander is native to tropical America.
This tropical flowering tree is one of the most outstanding summer bloomers. Lagerstroemia speciosa is a larger form of the more commonly grown L. indica (Crape myrtle.) It is called Queen Crape Myrtle because it's the Queen of the Crape Myrtles, dominating with grand size and larger, crinkled flowers. The name Crape myrtle is given to these tree/shrubs because of the flowers which look as if made from delicate crape paper. Lagerstroemia speciosa is a large tree growing up to 50' but it can be kept smaller by trimming. It stands on an attractive, spotted bark that often peels. This bark is commercially used and is a valuable timber. The large leaves are also appealing as they turn red right before they drop in the winter. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.
Roheda is a deciduous or nearly evergreen tree of desert or dry regions. It occurs on flat and undulating areas including gentle hill slopes and sometimes also in ravines. It thrives very well on stabilized sand dunes, which experience extreme low and high temperatures. Leaves are narrow, somewhat lance-shaped, with wavy margins, 5-12 cm long. In spring time it produces beautiful showy tubular flowers in yellow, orange and red colours. Fruit is a long, thin, slightly curved capsule up to 20 cm long, with winged seeds. Roheda is mainly used as a source of timber. Its wood is strong, tough and durable. It takes a fine finish. The wood is excellent for firewood and charcoal. Cattle and goats eat leaves of the tree. Camels, goats and sheep consume flowers and pods. Roheda plays an important role in ecology. It acts as a soil-binding tree by spreading a network of lateral roots on the top surface of the soil. It acts as a windbreak and helps in stabilizing shifting sand dunes. It is considered as the home of birds and provides shelter for other desert wildlife. Shade of tree crown is shelter for the cattle, goats and sheep during summer days.
Gulmohar is a flamboyant tree in flower - some say the world's most colorful tree. For several weeks in spring and summer it is covered with exuberant clusters of flame-red flowers, 4-5 in across. Even up close the individual flowers are striking: they have four spoon shaped spreading scarlet or orange-red petals about 3 in long, and one upright slightly larger petal (the standard) which is marked with yellow and white. The delicate, fern-like leaves are composed of small individual leaflets, which fold up at the onset of dusk. Gulmohar gets 30-40 ft tall, but its elegant wide-spreading umbrella-like canopy can be wider than its height. Gumohar is naturalized in India and is widely cultivated as a street tree.
Fragrant Screw Pine is a small branched tree or shrub with fragrant flowers, found wild in southern India, Burma and the Andamans. It is a small, slender, branching tree with a flexuous trunk supported by brace roots. With rosettes of long-pointed, stiffly leathery, spiny, bluish-green, fragrant leaves, it bears in summer very fragrant flowers. It is used as perfume. They are almost exclusively used in the form of a watery distillate called kewra water. Flowers have a sweet, perfumed odor that has a pleasant quality similar to rose flowers, but kewra is more fruity. Most delightful, richest, and powerful of perfumes even when dried.
Spanish cherry is a lovely green small tree of the Indian subcontinent. With its small shiny, thick, narrow, pointed leaves, straight trunk and spreading branches, it is a prized oranamental specimen because it provides a dense shade and during the months from March to July fills the night air with the delicious heady aroma of its tiny cream colored flowers. Flowers are small, star-shaped, yellowish white in color, with a crown rising from the center. Oval leaves, wavy at margin, about 5-16 cm and 3-7 cm wide. In the morning the fragrant flowers which so graciously scented their surroundings with their deep, rich, fragrance during the evening hours, fall to the ground. People love to collect them as they retain their odor for many days after they fall. They are offered in temples and shrines throughout the country. Appears in Indian mythology as Vakula - said to put forth blossoms when sprinkled with nectar from the mouth of lovely women. Fruits are eaten fresh.
The flower spikes of bottlebrushes form in spring and summer and are made up of a number of individual flowers. The pollen of the flower forms on the tip of a long coloured stalk called a filament. It is these filaments which give the flower spike its colour and distinctive 'bottlebrush' shape. The filaments are usually yellow or red, sometimes the pollen also adds a bright yellow flush to the flower spikes. Each flower produces a small woody fruit containing hundreds of tiny seeds.