What is May without the flamboyant Gulmohor? Many cities in India are lined with Gulmohor trees also known as Mayflower in some parts (Delonix regia). Come April each year, the trees turn into huge orange or red umbrellas without a single speck of green. Every leaf is shed as the entire Gulmohor tree is covered in flowers. Surprisingly they do not have a strong aroma. Red is a colour that is supposed to denote fire/heat. Yet these red Gulmohor canopies have a definite cooling effect, a sure refuge from the blazing and unforgiving sun.
The blooms range from shades of orange to deep red and last till about end May. As the first speck of green takes over the trees, Gulmohor flowers give way to the pods that are at times up to 12″ long.

Many homes plant Gulmohor for its ornamental effects besides shade of course. Yet over the years, its roots invade into the foundations of the building posing danger too its occupants. Rules do not permit tree cutting and often huge, old branches fall off with the first rain, weighted down as they are with rain water that adds to their own weight. This is dangerous to people and also vehicles etc that may be parked under it.

While I would be the first to oppose tree cutting, a golden middle has to be found here. The first Pune rains of 2008 left parts of the city without power for over 24 hours – in part due to fallen trees.

Mayflower/ Gulmohor, brightens and darkens simultaneously. Strange but true.

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