The Golden Shower

Without doubt, this is a lovely flowering tree. Indian Laburnum  or more commonly known as, Amaltas (Cassia Fistula/बहावा, स्वर्णपुष्पी) is one of the most beautiful of our indigenous trees; it adds colour to our hills during the drier and hotter parts of summer. The beauty of the picture encompassing the extremely beautiful, bright yellow flowers of the tree is beyond words!

During the hot season when the long, drooping sprays of clear, yellow flowers clothe the tree in a mantle of gold, it is indeed a glorious sight. Each spray is more than 30 cm. in length and bears long, slim stalks with numerous, large, deliciously fragrant flowers and rounded buds. These flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and small birds, making it an extremely showy tree in bloom.

The awesome tree is equally beautiful! In Ayurvedic medicine, Golden Shower tree is known aragvadha, meaning 'disease killer'. Its fruit pulp is used as a mild laxative, used against fevers, arthritis, vatavyadhi (nervous system diseases), all kinds of rakta-pitta (bleeding, such as hematemesis or hemorrhages), as well as cardiac conditions and stomach problems such as acid reflux. The root is considered a very strong purgative and self-medication or any use without medical supervision is strongly advised against in Ayurvedic texts.

Amaltas is the state flower of Kerala. The flowers are of ritual importance in the Vishu festival of Kerala which is considered as the first day of Zodiac calender. The Vishukkani is inseparable from Vishu. According to the age-old belief, an auspicious kani (first sight) at dawn on the Vishu day is lucky for the entire year. As a result, the Vishukkani is prepared with a lot of care to make it the most positive sight so as to bring alive a wonderful, propitious and year ahead! The feast on the Vishu day also include food items made from Neem and Mango.

There is an interesting fact related to the fruits of Amaltas. The fruits are dark-brown cylindrical in shape, 2 feet in length. The pod is hard enough and there in no way that the seeds will be dispersed after drying of the pods or so.

So how, do you think, does the natural seed dispersal of Amaltas take place?

Well Nature has it all! The seeds are enclosed in sweet pulp which has laxative properties. In forests, it is the main attraction for sloth bears and jackals. They eat the pod and seeds pass through their Gastro-Intestinal tract. Then the seeds are dropped out at different places by these animals. :-)

Amaltas is propagated from seed. Artificially, soaking in boiling water for 5 minutes and then 24 hour cold water soaking can help in germinating the seeds faster.

The tree is very useful in Apiculture. It is often utilised as shade tree or windbreak. It also gives excellent quality charcoal and tannin. The leaves provide useful green manure. Amaltas is widely planted in gardens and societies due its ornamental properties. It makes an excellent show when planted along the roads. The Laburnum Road in Mumbai has been exclusively lined with Amaltas trees and hence named so..!

12 comments:

  1. Hi are these trees native to south texas.

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    1. Nope. The tree is native to Indian subcontinent.

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  2. Can anyone tell me how the roots will grow? Does it grow downwards deep into the ground or the roots surfaces on the garden and spans sideways and can crack my walls?

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  3. Its a 33-66 feet tall tree.it grow fast but cant spread as fast due to its hard covered fruit.Best way lets boil the seeds for 5 minutes .also put in cold water for 24 hours .

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  4. Does anyone here knows how to germinate Amaltas Seeds?

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    1. Hi Varsha... The germination process is mentioned in this post. Just have a look! All the Best :)

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  5. Hi.. Where can we get these plants r seeds in Andhra Pradesh state in India..

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  6. this season i found these tress in tamil nadu . i germinated last week from few seeds.

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  7. Please suggest how should it be used for people having acid reflux?

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    1. Please do not use the plant medicinally. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

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