Gulmohar – Delonix Regia
Delonix regia is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. In many tropical parts of the world, it is grown as an ornamental tree and in English, it is given the name Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant. It is also one of several trees known as Flame tree.
Gulmohar tree is regarded as one of the most beautiful tropical trees in the world. The tree grows to a height of about 20-25 feet usually but can and does many times reach a height of 50 feet.
The tree is an evergreen deciduous with the branches spreading wide and forming an umbrella-like canopy. It remains green throughout the year wherever there is enough water. However, in areas in which it does not have access to water in the dry season or during times of drought it sheds its leaves.
The Gulmohar grows well in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. It prefers the sun and does not like shade and doesn’t grow well in shaded areas. It is native to Madagascar but is under threat in the wild there because of habitat destruction.
It has become naturalized in Southern Florida in the U.S. It is invasive in parts of Australia competing with natural vegetation.
The tree commonly bears red, crimson, orange and to a lesser extent the rarer yellow-colored flowers.
The Gulmohur tree competes with other nearby vegetation and therefore the ground under its canopy remains bare. The tree starts bearing flowers after 4 to 5 but there are instances of trees flowering after 12 years or more.
Delonix regia can tolerate salty conditions also and can be grown in coastal areas.
Uses of a Gulmohar tree
The plant has several medicinal uses like it is used to treat constipation, inflammations, arthritis, and hemiplegia. Thus it can be said that apart from being a treat to the eyes of an onlooker, the plant also has many medicinal uses which make Gulmohur stand out in the crowd. The wood is employed locally for agricultural implements; handles for carpentry tools, combs, etc. The principle uses it as fuel, the calorific value of wood is 4600 kcal/kg. The tree is mainly valued for its seeds, leaves, shade and ornamental value.