Cassia javanica: Pink shower tree

Family: Fabaceae
Common name: Pink shower tree, Apple blossom tree, Java cassia, Pink cassia, Rainbow shower tree

Once you see the Pink shower tree in bloom, it is difficult not to fall in love with its elegance and awesomeness. These trees flower with beautiful pink and magenta flowers from April to November, post which they might shed their leaves.

They are deciduous or semi-deciduous depending on the weather. These trees are native to Java and Sumatra as the name denotes, but are now seen in tropical countries worldwide.

Pink shower trees can grow to a height of 30-40 meters, and are heavily branched towards the top. The lower part of the trunk is relatively straight, light brown and rough-textured.

The leaves are pinnately compound and paripinnate with equal number of leaflets on either side of the stalk. These leaves have 10-12 pairs of small green leaflets. Flowers are pale pink to deep magenta in colour depending on the variant, sunlight, and weather.

During flowering season, the tree is covered with beautiful bunches of pink bouquets, growing all along the branches. The branches droop down with the weight of the flowers, giving the tree the appearance of a lovely umbrella.

Once pollinated, the flowers turn into seeds contained in long, cylindrical seedpods which are 20-25 cm long.

These trees are closely related to the Golden Shower Tree or Cassia Fistula, and there are some lovely variants that are a cross between the Pink Shower Tree and the Golden Shower tree.

Most Cassia trees are quite hardy garden trees that can grow and flourish in good sunlight, producing abundant flowers in season, carpeting the ground with pink or yellow petals. They are mostly grown as ornamental plants.

Pink shower trees also have some medicinal uses in the treatment of fever, constipation, and urinary disorders. Seeds and seedpods are also used as laxatives. The wood is semi-strong, is used in construction of furniture and cabinetry. In Thailand, this tree is one of the nine auspicious trees that are said to bring good luck.

Propagation is through grafting, layering, or through seeds.

Photo Credits: Seby Kallarakkal