- Common Names: Coral tree, Indian Coral tree
- Scientific Names: Butea monosperma, Butea frondosa, Erythrina monosperma
- Family: Fabaceae
- Subfamily: Faboideae
- Local Names: Flame of the Forest, Dhak, Palas, Bastard Teak, Parrot Tree, kesu, gule nishter
- Origin: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
- Plant Characteristics: Woody. No latex, aromatic flowers, (Trifoliate) Compound leaves, have alternate arrangements of leaves.
You may or may not know me but I am a tree native to tropical and subtropical regions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Srilanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, to name a few ones.
People of these countries adore me so much that they love to call me by different names in their local languages and dialects.
I am a small-sized dry season, deciduous tree. It simply means that I can shed my leaves when the autumn dawns. I can grow up to 15 m (49 ft) tall. I admire my striking height. Though I limped sometimes.
Scientifically, I am known as Butea monosperma throughout the world as it is my botanical name. I am also described in some textbooks as Butea frondosa so please don’t get confused if someone mentions me by this name. It’s my synonym.
I have so many related names but for the lack of time, I would like to mention a few of them to keep the momentum going. I have compiled a list of some of my favorites.
In English speaking countries, I am known as bastard teak or parrot tree.
In the Hindi language, I am entitled to be known as chichra tasu, desuka, Palash, chalcha, Kankrei, etc.
To begin with, I am widely acknowledged as the flame of the forest or flame tree because of my vibrant personality. It’s an interesting read. I am prized for my flowers which take on a fascinating look in late spring due to the orange-red hue of my flowers.
For this reason, I am symbolized as the color of love in South Asian cultures and also known to be assumed as a first sign for the arrival of spring.
Notoriously, I am recognized as the bastard teak because of my striking resemblance with the teak tree in having the same features such as hard durable wood.
Where am I located? I am currently blooming proudly in the salt ranges of Pakistan. Here, I am locally known as Chahchra or Dhaak.
I possess the ability to endure elevated amounts of salt in the soil and withstand extreme changes in weather. Hence, I am widely distributed in the salt ranges of Pakistan or can also be seen growing easily in coastal areas of my country.
Palash (which means a flowering tree) is another splendid name that has become my recognition in my neighbor country. They even named their newborn baby boys with my name to show their affection for me. I feel so honored and blessed.
Some say the town of Palashi in West Bengal adopts its name from the Palash tree. (Note: The town was famous for the historic battle of Plassey fought there). What a great way to tribute this tree!
A parrot tree is another pleasant name that is bestowed on me. I am so intricately designed that my stunning orange-red flowers appear before the leaves. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings, and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this beak-shaped keel that lends me the name of Parrot Tree.
You might have heard of that popular Urdu proverb, “dhaak k teen paat” which comes from the prominent three leaflets shape of this tree. The phrase means efforts leading to no results.
Despite being known as a prized tree by nature enthusiasts or Hakeem, I receive little interest from the general public.
Fated to be named as the flame of the forest, I am now mostly regarded as an ornamental tree.
The reason for the decline of these trees in rural areas is because the inhabitants here do not prefer to plant new saplings of these species. After all, they considered these trees to be slow-growing.
Sadly, a little has been done to preserve this magnificent tree. It was known to thrive in abundance in the salt ranges of Kohistan. But now the number has been dramatically decreased with time due to the constant need for its wood to use as fuel.
This tree is humbly requesting you to craft ways to protect it from vanishing from its beloved country.
How can we protect the Dhak tree from extinction?
It has been real injustice to this kind of tree. It grows even on dead mountains, does so well in salty soils, and proves to be an incredible host to lac Insects.
Now, it’s time to give the due credit and affection to these Dhak trees.
Here are some ways to conserve this tree for future generations to come.
1. Write more about native trees/ Awareness plays a critical role in the protection of native trees.
2. Plant new saplings of this species.
3. Be a nature enthusiast. Or be a tree enthusiast to be more precise.
4. Come and visit this tree when it is naturally blooming in the spring season.
5. Go to your local nursery and obtain information about this tree.
Fast five medicinal uses about Butea monosperma
1. It is a potent astringent used in the treatment of diarrhea.
2. The seeds of Butea monosperma when mixed into a paste with honey are used for their antihelmintic, antifungal, anti-bacterial properties.
3. The seeds contain about 18% oil. Known as moodoga oil which is an effective treatment for hookworms.
4. The flowers of this tree are used in the treatment of liver disorders.
5. The flowers contain butrin and isobutrin. These combinations have been shown to have antihepatotoxic properties.
Precautions should be taken to use these herbal medicines. Don’t use these products on your own or without legal permission from authorized personnel.
The “medicinal uses” mentioned here is only for general knowledge. Not to be applied practically without legal authorization or without being approved from the concerned field.
Thank you for reading and highlighting my work. I frequently write for trees and think about them in my happy time. Please visit my blog and do comment on my posts for offering me a little dose of encouragement that I rarely receive.