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Flame Of The Forest - Delonix regia - The Gulmohar Tree

Updated on May 19, 2017
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years breeding layer and broiler parents.

Flame Of The Forest - Gulmohar Tree


Flame Of The Forest

There are 3 trees that are called flame of the forest. They all belong to different genera

They are :

  1. Butea monosperma or Palash tree

  2. Delonix regia or Gulmohar tree

  3. Spathodea or African tulip tree

You can read about the first, Butea monosperma linked above right which will lead you to my article.

About Flame Of The Forest - The Gulmohar Tree

Latin Name : Delonix regia

It belongs to the family, Fabaceae.

In India, this tree is called Gulmohar or even by its common Englsh name, Flame of the forest.

Other common names by which this tree is known are; flame tree, flamboyant, gold mohar, royal poinciama etc.

I still remember these trees lining the road to my school, on either side and during summer they presented an awesome sight, a look as if the whole street was ablaze. Such is the beauty of this tree.

Different Colored Flowered Varieties Of Delonix regia

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Flame Of The Forest 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 it 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.

Flowering Gulmohar Trees

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The Leaves And Branches

The leaves are large and doubly pinnate having 10-25 pairs of pinnae, each having 30-60 opposite leaflets.

The leaves have a feathery feel and are bright green in color.

The branches are brittle and break easily and may break without a warning especially when the wind is blowing.

The Pinnate Leaves


The Flowers

The flowers are the most striking part of this tree and it is flamboyant in the display of its flowers. They are about 10 cm in diameter and emit a characteristic scent. The stamens are dark red and the style is yellow.

Each flower is 5 petaled with one petal being different from the other four. Though all the petals are claw shaped, this petal stands out in striking contrast to the other four in that it has red flecks on a white to yellow blotch.

The flowers are bisexual and are thought to be pollinated by sunbirds.

Gulmohar Tree Flowers

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The Mature Seed Pods


The Seed Pods And The Seeds

The seed pods are extremely long, flattened and strap shaped having up to 50 seeds in each one. They are turn deep brown when mature. The mature seeds are from dark brown to almost black color.

The Seed Pods And Seeds

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The dried seed podsGulmohar seeds
The dried seed pods
The dried seed pods | Source
Gulmohar seeds
Gulmohar seeds | Source

Flowering Seasons In Different Countries

Southern Sudan - March ~ May

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh - April ~ June

South Florida - May ~ June

Egypt - May ~ June

Vietnam - May ~ July

Caribbean - May ~ September

Zimbabwe - October ~ December

Brazil - November ~ February

Australia - December ~ February

Cultivation Requirements & Precautions

  • Grows in tropical to subtropical areas.
  • Full sun, well drained soil.
  • Though the roots grow superficially and do not go deep, they spread far and wide. They can damage, land drains, road pavings and foundations of nearby buildings.
  • Choose the right site for planting away from landscape to avoid damage.

Uses Of The Gulmohar Tree

It is widely cultivated as an ornamental tree in parks and on the roadside. It provides valuable shade during the summer season.

The wood is durable and resistant to water and is used to make fence posts.

The seeds are used as beads to make necklaces, bracelets and other artificial jewellery.

The gum from the dried seeds is used as a binder in the manufacture of tablets like paracetamol etc.

The bark is believed to be antipyretic.

The inner portion of the seed is eaten in Thailand.

Please rate. Thanks!

4.3 out of 5 stars from 64 ratings of Flame Of The Forest - Delonix regia


Burkill, H.M. (1995). The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa: Vol 3 Families J – L: 100-101. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Du Puy, D.J., Labat, J-N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J. (2002). The Leguminosae of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Du Puy, D.J., Phillipson, P., Rabevohitra, R. (1995). The genus Delonix (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae: Caesalpinieae) in Madagascar. Kew Bull. 50: 445-475.

Huxley, A., Griffiths, M. & Levy, M. (eds) (1992). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. Vol. 2 (D to K): 25-26. Macmillan Press, London.

Sareen & Vasisht (1982). Breeding systems of Delonix regia. In: Improvement of Forest Biomass, ed. P. K. Khosla, pp. 33-40. Pragati press, New Delhi.

Lady in Red: Gulmohar in Summer

Gulmohar Gar Tumhara Naam Hota (Watch this song having this tree as the theme, against the backdrop of the Gulmohar trees)

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • profile image

      virendra 2 years ago

      Very nice article and useful information for school going children.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Seema it seems you haven't read the first paragraph of this article. Please read again. I've written that there are 3 tress that are known as flame of the forest.

    • profile image

      Seema Mullick 2 years ago

      Please note: The flame of the forest is the Dhak, butea monosperma. Not the gulmohar. which is Delonix regia.

    • Mukta Mani Punj profile image

      Mukta Mani Punj 3 years ago


      That's a pretty informative article there. I live in New Delhi and want to plant a Gulmohar in my garden. Will be very thankful to you if you could guide me as to when ( the month) I could plant it. I plan to buy this plant from a local nursery and not seed propagate. Are there any precautions I need to observe before or during the planting so that my plant grows well ? (I won't plant it too close to the house). Thanks in advance.

    • profile image

      ananda sekar 3 years ago

      very beautyful tree any one interest to make nursery, please mail to seeds always free of cost

      with best regards

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Yes, the tree is an awesome sight to behold in the peak summer with those bright flowers. It is sad it had to be cut to make space for the electricity cables.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

      Now I know finally, the name of this tree that I've been seeing. Usually every May these trees are in full bloom -- bright and vivid -- and then they'd go totally green and lush with foliage in the following months. This tree used to stand imposingly at the gate of the village where I live. I'm saddened that they cut that down because they obstructed the electricity cables. Now it's gone, I miss that tree so much.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.


      @Brett-thanks for reading and sharing.

      @Doodlehead-thanks for appreciating.

    • Doodlehead profile image

      Doodlehead 4 years ago from Northern California

      Rajan Jolly---your hubs are so enjoyable as we can read about other places from someone like you with first hand experience to the place.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      Definitely a beautiful tree. Although not as vibrant, but still stunning, the countryside here is full of cherry blossoms.

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and interesting.

    • shanweb profile image

      shanweb 4 years ago

      Wow ..... I like this tree. When it is blooming it looks so beautiful. Good article.

    • shanweb profile image

      shanweb 4 years ago

      Very good article. Actually i like gulmohar tree.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Mary-cold is not conducive to the growth to this tree. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.

      @Patricia-you are right. There are so many thing in our world that we can only hear about and see because of the sharing of information. Glad you like it. Thanks and have a nice day.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Thanks for sharing this rajan jolly.

      The blooms are so fragile and beautiful looking. I of course was not familiar with this which made this even more intriguing. there is so much beauty in our world just waiting to be discovered.

      Sending Angels your way today :) ps

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I've never seen or heard of these trees before. I live in New York and the cold is not conducive to such beautiful trees. You always introduce us to such interesting, and in this case, beautiful things.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @moonlake-thanks and it certainly is a lovely tree.

      @Peggy-I agree with you. Thanks for the votes and sharing.

      @Anan-sure you must love them since you paint them all the time. Thanks.

      @Crystal-thanks for stopping by.

      @ Au fait-thanks for the visit and sharing.

      @Jenn-Anne-thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      @prasetio-thanks my friend for your effusive comments. I'm humbled. The tree deserves all the votes.

      @Kathryn-thanks. I'm glad you like this as well.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      This is beautiful, as the other Flame Tree was.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia, you make it all beautiful. . How lucky I am to have found this article this morning. The photos you included are the best. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up (except funny) and take care!


    • Jenn-Anne profile image

      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      I've never heard of this kind of tree before - it's gorgeous! I learned a lot from reading your hub. Thanks so much for putting it together. Voted up!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      A beautiful tree and interesting too! Enjoyed reading about it. Voted up, interesting and beautiful! Will share.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      These are truly spectacular trees. I love the bright red color. I have never seen one, but would love to. Voting up and beautiful.

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 4 years ago from California

      El Flamboyan! In Puerto Rico they are everywhere. We had two of these in my grandmother's property. I paint them all the time in my artwork. Is funny. I was just commissioned to paint one for a client in the east coast. Love them!!!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I am familiar with this tree that is referred to as Royal Poinciana tree here in Texas. It is truly beautiful when in bloom and has such lacy leaves. Enjoyed reading about it especially with these fabulous photos. Gave this a 5 star rating plus up, useful, beautiful and interesting votes. Will also share.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Very interesting and beautiful tree. I love the color, sad to say they would never grow here. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and five stars.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ perrya - I'll check out this tree. Thanks for visiting and good to see you.

      @ Bill - I agree. Who wouldn't wish to have this beautiful tree near one's home. Thanks for giving the hub a read.

      @ Joe - yes of course! They do grow in Hawaii too. I do believe it is this tree that you saw. The Indian gum tree is Acacia arabica. Thanks.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state


      I am so excited after reading this hub. A couple of weeks ago, I was on the Big Island of Hawai'i and spotted these trees all over the place. I remember seeing these in my youth, growing up on the island of Kaua'i. Anyway, a family member said that this was an Indian Gum Tree. Now, whether or not the "Gum" referred to a misspelling of Gulmohar or whether the name was the result of knowing that the dried seeds produced a binding gum, I don't know. But one thing's for sure--these trees with their long pods and awesome, fiery blossoms really stand out against their supporting cast peers. Thanks for sharing, my friend!


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My goodness what a beautiful tree. Thank you for telling me about this tree; the pictures are gorgeous. I wish we had this tree in our area.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 4 years ago

      The Silk Floss tree is another great flowering tree. It is hardy enough to grow in the southern states and in Caifornia.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Margaret - the flowering season just starts in May so you missed it. Good to know you like this info. Thanks fro coming by and voting and sharing.

      @ Carol - thanks and also for the pinning.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      First of all what a beautiful tree. Great job and as always I love learning new things. You are a wealth of information. Voting up and pinning.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      These trees are spectacular. The next time I'm in Florida, I'll have to look for these beautiful trees. We usually leave by early May, so it may be that I've never noticed them because they weren't yet in bloom. Great hub as usual - voted up, interesting and beautiful - and sharing.