Flame of the forest' begins blooming in Mudumalai
OOTY: Mudumalai tiger reserve (MTR), which has been increasingly looking dreary due to drying foliage caused by water shortage, has begun to don new colours with the blooming of ‘flame of the forest' flowers. The flowers in brilliant orange red, now adds charm. Greens say that the flower has ecological significance in the woods in dry weather.
Those who drive through the Mudumalai woods, especially in the Kallhatti-Segur-Masinagudi sector, can see clusters of the flowers. Dr S. Rajan, field botanist at the Central Ayush research wing here, said that this tree belongs to the Butea monosperma species which is a wild flowering tree that blooms in dry weather in the jungles up to mid-April.
“The bloom of the orange-red flowers with their upward growing petals gives an impression as if the tree is emitting flames; hence the name, 'Flame of the Forest'. The natural pigments in this tree are useful in dye-making industries. When the flowering season starts, the tree sheds its leaves. The flowers are used in the preparation of some herbal cosmetics,” he noted.
V. Sivadass, managing trustee of the Nilgiris Environment and Socio-cultural Trust said the brilliant colour of the 'Flame of the Forest' provides much needed nectar to birds and insects, thus helpful in sustaining avian and insect lives in the dry weather. In ancient times it was revered as a sacred tree as its bark was used in religious events, he added.