Peltophorum Pterocarpum or Radhachura in Bengali

Botanical name: Peltophorum pterocarpum.
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Genus: Peltophorum
Species: P. pterocarpum

Synonyms : Baryxylum inerme (Roxb.) Pierre, Caesal pinia ferruginea Dcne., Caesalpinia arborea Zoll. ex Miq., Caesalpinia inermis Roxb., Inga pterocarpa DC., Peltophorum ferrugineum (Dcne.) Benth., Peltophorum inerme (Roxb.) Llanos, Poinciana roxburghii G.Don

Common Name:Copperpod, Golden Flamboyant, Yellow Flamboyant, Yellow Flame Tree, Yellow Poinciana.
(English: Copper pod tree, Rusty shield bearer. Kannada: Peltophorum, Bengali: Radha chura)

Habitat:
Native to tropical southeastern Asia and northern Australasia, in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines (doubtfully native), and the islands off the coast of Northern Territory, Australia.

Description:
It is a deciduous tree growing to 15–25 m (rarely up to 50 m) tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m. The leaves are bipinnate, 30-60 cm long, with 16-20 pinnae, each pinna with 20-40 oval leaflets 8-25 mm long and 4-10 mm broad. The flowers are yellow, 2.5-4 cm diameter, produced in large compound racemes up to 20 cm long. The fruit is a pod 5-10 cm long and 2.5 cm broad, red at first, ripening black, and containing one to four seeds. Trees begin to flower after about four years.

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Its with wide-spreading branches form an umbrella-like crown up to 25′ across. The stems and twigs are rusty-red tomentose (fuzzy). The leaves are bipinnate (twice compound), about 2′ long with 8-20 pairs of 3/4″-long oblong leaflets. The fragrant flowers are clustered on upright stalks (racemes, actually) about 18″ long. Each flower is about an inch and a half across with translucent yellow, strangely-crinkled petals. The flowers have conspicuous orange stamens and each petal has a reddish brown mark in the center. They are followed by purplish brown, flattened, oblong seed pods, 3-4″ long, which remain on the tree until the next flowering season.

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Compared to gul mohar this tree flowers for longer periods, and often you can see buds, flowers, pods (copper coloured) and also leaves in the same tree. It is remarkably drought resistant and can grow very big and is a good shade tree.

Cultivation
Peltophorum pterocarpum is widely grown in tropical regions as an ornamental tree, particularly in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Florida and Hawaii in the United States.Propagation of yellow poinciana is by seeds that must be treated before they will germinate. In nature, the seeds would have passed through the gut of a bird or mammal before germinating in a pile of rich “compost.” We simulate that process with scarification (use a file or sandpaper), or a two-minute immersion in dilute acid or boiling water.

Uses:
Yellow poincianas are usually planted as specimen trees or as shade trees. They are used as street trees in tropical cities, and commonly planted for shade in tropical and subtropical gardens. They are fast-growing and vigorous, but they cannot tolerate frost.The wood has a wide variety of uses, and the foliage, which are rich in protein, is used as a fodder crop.
It serves as a host for lac insects.

It is also used as a shade and cover plant in cacao and coffee plantations, for reforestation of wastelands covered with (Imperata cylindrica) and as a windbreak.

Also grown as an ornamental. Sap wood soft and light, not durable and of little use, heartwood red, hard and strong. Good for carpentry, construction and cartwright’s work. Bark contains tannins, giving a light yellow color to leather, tannins also present in leaves and wood.The wood is used for cabinet work, coach-building, furniture, planks and as firewood.

Medicinal uses: bark for dysentry, tooth powder, eye lotion, embrocation for pains and sores; the bark gives a dye of a yellow color. Can be used as a shade – or specimen tree.
USDA hardiness zone 10b..

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peltophorum_pterocarpum
http://www.floridata.com/ref/P/pelt_pte.cfm
http://toptropicals.com/cgi-bin/garden_catalog/cat.cgi?uid=Peltophorum_pterocarpum
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropView?id=8410
Radhachura
http://www.isibang.ac.in/~bhat/peltho.html

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