Tuesday, April 7, 2015

African Tulip (রুদ্র পলাশ) - Spathodea campanulata

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Bengali Name : Rudra Polash (রুদ্র পলাশ).
Common Name : African Tulip, Fountain tree, etc.
Botanical Name : Spathodea campanulata
Family : Bignoniaceae

Our today's flower is African tulip. From the name it is easily understandable that the flower is native to the African region (more specifically to West Africa). This is a very tall growing plant locally known as Rudra Polash (রুদ্র পলাশ) here in Bangladesh. Probably this plant has introduced by the Christian missionaries here into the Indian subcontinent. Botanical/binomial name of this flowering plant is Spathodea campanulata and it belongs to the plant family Bignoniaceae.

African Tulip (রুদ্র পলাশ) is a very tall growing plant (up to 80 ft) with dark green leafs. Leafs are having long petiole, oppositely arranged around the branch, and having 5-18 leaflets. Each small leaflets are deeply veined (creates a corrugated texture) and broadly elliptic or ovate in shape.

Obviously the flowers look like a tulip, otherwise how can we call it as African tulip! Flowers are deep red or orange red in color, having a shape of a cup, and last for three days after blooming. Flower buds are having a shape of horn and they born from the apex of small branches as a cluster. Flowers hold lot of nectar inside which attract the bees and other honey suckling birds (i.e. humming bird). Also the cup-like flower can hold water inside from the rain or dew drop.

Being a tall tree, the bright colorful flowers are seen from far inside the green leafs. For its lovely color and height the plant is known as the 'King of flowering trees'. As the plant produces lot of seeds and those germinate quickly, hence it is labeled as an invasive tree in some countries.

African tulip is a very soft plant and lot of birds prefer to make their hollow nest into the wood. African hunters use to make arrow poison from the extract of the seeds. In Africa, people use to boil the bark in water and then give to the newly born babies to heal body rashes.

This plant can not sustain that much of cold, and in Bangladesh we do not have such weather. In fact these days we are having much warm weather which is near to the African's weather. That's why this flowering plant has suited nicely here in Bangladesh. We have few trees around the country (mostly around the parks and gardens).

Photos of these Rudra Polash (রুদ্র পলাশ) flowers were taken from the Curzon hall of Dhaka University and Romna park (রমনা পার্ক). It was the month of March 2015.

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/


  1. I have seen this flower in my university campus,in terrai region of North Bengal...and there was a plate on it with the name"Parul".

    1. I can say that is wrongly named than.

      People from our area are looking for Parul since many years. We didn't find any yet. If you see any Parul flower anywhere pls take a photo and send it to me. Will be grateful.