Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cassias and Tabubias

In the midst of so much that is ugly in our city, there are these magnificent trees belonging to two families giving us immense visual pleasure. The bloom is around this time and the trees are a pretty common sight in any neighborhood. The cassia family has one set of trees which have red to pale pink and off white flowers and another set which have yellow flowers. They are all smallish trees and when in bloom the whole tree is one big spectacular display of colour with hardly any leaves visible. Amongst the red variety the one which I like most is the called cassia nodosa or pink cassia and I am fortunate that I have many specimens of this tree in the vicinity and they give me lot of joy even when they are not in bloom! Of the trees which have the yellow flowers the best and the most beautiful is cassia fistula. Not as common as the other ones in urban environs, this tree is in full bloom now. Few years ago we had gone trekking in the foot hills of Nilgiris one evening with a vague hope of sighting elephants near a watering point and in the middle of dry brown scrub land I saw this specimen in full bloom. The inflorescence has hundreds of flowers drooping upside down and the placement of each flower is such that it looks like an inverted golden necklace with a broad base and a tapering end. I am at a loss to describe the beauty of the flowers. Imagine the whole tree full of these flowers! I have not seen this tree in Bangalore, but I was told there are some in Lalbagh. May be it is exploited as the fruit and flower pulp is used as a laxative!

Tabubia is another family which has fair representation in Bangalore. The ones which catch every one eye is the common stunted gnarled misshapen smallish tree laden with golden yellow bunches of flowers [tabubia argentea, T.tacoma]. When in bloom there is no leaf and it is all flowers. Tabubia rosea is a big well shaped tree with a huge crown of deciduous leaves which make way for pale rose pink flowers and the whole tree is covered with flowers and it is a traffic stopping sight. The bloom is just ending and some of you may be fortunate as there are some trees which are just beginning to flower. But the one I like most is Tabubia avellanidae. This is another common and favorite avenue tree, smallish with broad leaves and when in bloom the whole tree is magnificently mauve. Those of you who live in and around my area can see these trees in full bloom on either side of Jeevanbimanagar road in the month of December. You can also see a number of them arranged in a circle in front of Public Library in Cubbon park.

Last but not the least there is the all time favorite, Jacaranda, again in full bloom now. This delicate tree showers its blue flowers and the ground underneath looks as though covered with a blue blanket. Don’t miss the sight, they are all over. If you are driving along the airport road, after Manipal hospital, look to your left and you see a blue screen of these flowers.

The pleasure that these trees give uplifts the spirit. To experience it is pure joy.


Dip said...

Brilliantly described. I love these flowers and I love the way you have brought their beauty to us.

What I am afraid of when they bloom, is the pollen causing respiratory problems. But then the doctors and the pharma companies are there to take care of that problem allowing us to enjoy the beauty of the flowers.

Thank you for sharing your joy with us.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Thank you very much for enlightening me about Cassia. I always thought this is a distant relative of the Japanese Cherry Blossom.
Incidentally, it will be nice if you can tell us about the birds in this time of the year. I try to recognise the birds, more by their calls than by sight ! Right now, it seems to be the season for Barbets, tailor birds, Prinias and Tailor birds. I may be wrong. Can you enlighten me ?