Flame of the Forest, Butea monosperma

Butea monosperma, Flame of the Forest or Parrot Tree is indigenous to tropical areas of southern Asia. This deciduous tree grows to nearly 50 feet in height with leaves that feature 3 smaller leaflets that are approximately 4 – 8 inches in length growing symetrically along a center stem that is approximately 3 – 6 inches long. Small colorful reddish orange flowers less than an inch long, bloom in clusters along a single shoot up to 6 inches in length.

The tree has a variety of uses including timber, food and medicine. The tree’s resin is used in food dishes, in medicine as an astringent and in leather goods. The tree’s grayish white wood is soft and can be used as charcoal or easily carved into water scoops and well curbs.

Folklore said the tree is the embodiment of Agnidev or God of Fire. He was punished by the Goddess Parvati for disturbing her privacy and turned into a tree.

Image Caption: Butea monosperma. Credit: SumaTagadur/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 2.5)