Markhamia lutea: Nile tulip

Family: Bignoniaceae
Common name: Nile tulip, Nile trumpet, Siala tree, Markhamia, Dolichandra

Markhamia trees adorn Indian roads with their flames of yellow flowers; with hanging seeds pods as embellishments. The tree grows 5 to 10 meters in height with very ordinary looking leaves. The flowers are similar to those of other plants like Allamanda and Yellow trumpetbush, but deeper yellow with reddish markings at the throat.

The flowers grow in clusters of 30-60, on long stalks so that they stand out from the cluster of leaves thickly covering the tree. Flowers keep opening and withering; new ones replacing the old, so that the tree is in bloom for a long period of time usually during the rainy season in India. The flowers then form seeds pods that are long and flat, about 60 cms, containing many seeds. When they mature and blacken, they split open releasing many winged seeds that are dispersed by wind.

The spent seed pods then hang from the tree in clusters of twisty long strands that look like tinsel decorations. The leaves of Markhamia plants are used in treatment of skin allergies, itching and rashes. The leaves and bark are used in treatment of tooth-ache and respiratory tract infections. The wood is used for making cabinets and furniture as they are quite durable and termite-resistant.

Propagation is through seeds, that sprout readily when planted.

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