Butea Monosperma or Flame of the Forest is a mid-sized tree from tropical and sub-tropical regions of South East Asia especially Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and farther across Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia. Irregular branching habit, racemes of large bright orange-red flowers and pinnate leaves are typical characteristics of this beautiful tree.
Butea Monosperma usually grows as a mid-sized tree (up to 12 meters) and bears soft velvety leaves of bronze green color. Old leaves feel stiff and leathery. The tree sheds most of its leaves in winter to exposes branches. However, spring season brings foliage and abundance of flaming red-orange flowers that stand out in any landscape for their unusual shape and bright colors justifying the name ‘Flame of the Forest’. These bright and unusual flowers attract birds and butterflies that act as pollinating agents.
Butea Monosperma is useful not only for ornamental purposes but also for its timber and medicinal benefits. The wood is soft and durable under water. Flowers are used to extract dyes whereas the gum excreted by stems is used by druggists in herbal medicine for its astringent qualities.
How to grow Butea Monosperma
Butea Monosperma or Flame of the Forest is a good choice for gardens as it does not grow vigorously and makes a mid-sized tree that can be pruned easily to manage space. Flame of the Forest prefers good exposure to sun and moderate watering.
Butea Monosperma is also recognized as Butea Frondosa.