Discovered in the early 19th century in its native Madagascar by botanist Wensel Bojer, Gulmohar is a flamboyant tree in flower – some say the world’s most colorful tree. For several weeks in spring and summer it is covered with exuberant clusters of flame-red flowers, 4-5 in across. Even up close the individual flowers are striking: they have four spoon-shaped spreading scarlet or orange-red petals about 3 in long, and one upright slightly larger petal (the standard) which is marked with yellow and white. The delicate, fern-like leaves are composed of small individual leaflets, which fold up at the onset of dusk. Gulmohar gets 30-40 ft tall, but its elegant wide-spreading umbrella-like canopy can be wider than its height. Gulmohar is naturalized in India and is widely cultivated as a street tree.
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