Peltophorum pterocarpum: Yellow flame

Family: Fabaceae
Common name: Yellow flame, Yellow flame-tree, Yellow poinciana, Copperpod

Yellow flame trees are common roadside trees in India, Singapore and other Asian countries, because they are good shade trees. They are also very drought-tolerant, making them idea for the warm, tropical weather. Yellow flame trees grow to a height of 20-25 meters with a thick trunk and umbrella-like crown.

The flowers look very similar to that of Gulmohar trees, bipinnate with 16-20 secondary leaflets and 10-20 pairs of oval, dark-green tertiary leaflets. Yellow flame tree is deciduous; the leaves turning yellow or brown and falling, but the tree does not become bare completely.

The beautiful yellow flowers grown on elongated racemes; each raceme having fully-opened yellow flowers at the base, and unopened greenish-brown buds towards the tip. The flowers have thin, flimsy petals like paper tissues; and very prominent stamens and style.

During flowering season, the tree is covered with flaming yellow flowers, giving it the name ‘Yellow Flame’. The trees when in bloom look very similar to the Markhamia trees with thick bunches of yellow flowers. The flowers then produce seedpods that are 2-4 inches long and about an inch wide. They are reddish-brown at first, and become black on ripening; containing up to 4 seeds. These seedpods stay on the tree for a very long time before dropping off.

Yellow flame trees are usually planted as ornamental trees, and also for shade. But they also have some medicinal properties. The bark is used to treat ulcers, dysentery, tooth pain, sprains and muscle disorders. It is also used to make a yellow-brown dye primarily used on fabrics. Timber is used to make furniture and cabinets.

Propagation is from seeds.

Photo Courtesy: love4gardening

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