Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Fountain Tree

The African Tulip Tree or the Fountain Tree Spathodia campanulata is flowering profusely all over the city, its flame coloured flowers giving it the name 'Flame of the Forest'.
The spent flowers fall on the sidewalk, making the unwary walker slip. Sometimes, even the buds fall on the sidewalk, and if you step on it, the 'fountain' will squirt all over your leg. Children play with the buds , which are filled with water, squirting each other gleefully.

The Spathodia is a native of tropical Africa, and is now planted extensively as a roadside tree all over the tropics. The tree flowers many times a year. The cup shaped flowers hold rainwater , and many birds are attracted to the tree. The seeds are edible. The wood is soft, and used to make paper. In its native West Africa, the wood is used to make drums.


  1. What a pretty tree. I can just imagine the surprise of being squirt by one of the flowers as you're walking along:)

  2. Oh yes, I remember this tree from my childhood days and the whacking we used to get after happily indulging in squirting the liquid with our friends because the stain on the clothes would stay put. Detergents and "active oxygen" were unheard of in those days! The tree also has large, boat-shaped seed pods which, when dry, can actually float on water.

  3. A beautiful tree. I really like this one and the flowers are so bright.

  4. Catherine, yes, one gets a shock when suddenly one's ankle becomes wet while walking.
    Shailaja, the 'boats' are also used by children to float.
    Ian, the flowers are a sriking contrast to the shining, dark green leaves.

  5. I love this tree and I have two planted in the garden. The pods look like boats and many times when I am cutting the grass I see them. I say to myself that one day I will make a sail boat from them for a child. Procrastination is truly the thief of my time.

  6. Very interesting!!! Great to know about new plants and their interesting features...

  7. Beautiful Fountain tree! We call this 'Rudrapalash' in Bengali. You may visit my entry in Trek Lens. Just now I presented a close up of this flower.


    I like this blog so much!
    Warm regards,

  8. I noticed this tree on my visit to khandala. This is probably the flowering season and we can spots this tree with bright orange flowers blossomed all across. A real treat to our eyes i must say!!!

  9. good writing nice picture by prerak shah

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