of the Forest

Least Concern


Flame of the Forest

Butea monosperma

Native to India, Flame of the Forest is a medium sized tree, growing from 20 to 40 feet high, and the trunk is usually crooked and twisted with irregular branches and rough, grey bark. The leaves are pinnate, with an 8-16 cm petiole and three leaflets, each leaflet 10-20 cm long. The hindi phrase ढाक के तीन पात ("Dhaak ke teen paat") comes from the prominent three leaflets of this tree. It is seen in all its ugliness in December and January when most of the leaves fall: but from January to March it truly becomes a tree of flame, a riot of orange and vermilion flowers covering the entire crown. These flowers, which are scentless, are massed along the ends of the stalks--dark velvety green like the cup-shaped calices--and the brilliance of the stiff, bright flowers is shown off to perfection by this deep, contrasting colour. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this keel which gives it the name of Parrot Tree. In olden days, the flowers of Tesu were used to make color for the festival of Holi. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.

Parrot Tree

Regional Names
  • Hindi:
    पलाश, ढाक, टेसू
  • Marathi:
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Butea monosperma

Quick Facts
  • It is a state flower of Chandigarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
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