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National tree of Thailand: Golden-yellow flowers cascading down Amaltash trees

Tree holds sacred place in scriptures like The Ramayana and The Mahabharata and is common across the Indian subcontinent as well as southeast Asia

Arijit Poddar | Published 24.11.23, 10:46 AM
Beautiful yellow flowers blooming on Amaltas tree

Beautiful yellow flowers blooming on Amaltas tree

O ne of the prettiest sights in Salt Lake during summer months is golden-yellow flowers cascading down Amaltash trees. Plenty of them grow in our avenues and their flowers resemble bunches of grapes hanging from the branches.

The Amaltash is also known as Golden Shower and is one of the most beautiful of all tropical trees when it sheds its leaves and bursts into flowers. The tree holds a sacred place in scriptures like The Ramayana and The Mahabharata and is common across the Indian subcontinent as well as southeast Asia. In fact, it is the national tree of Thailand.



The Amaltash tree is a medium-sized tree, growing to up to 35 ft tall. The leaves are deciduous, six to eight inches long, and pinnate with three to eight pairs of leaflets. The flowers are five yellow petals of equal size and shape. The fruit is a legume, 11 to 23 inches long and 0.5-1 inch broad, with a pungent odor and containing several seeds.

The botanical name of Amaltash is Cassia fistula. The Latin name “Cassia” comes from “Kassia”, which means “fragrant plant.” Other names are Indian Laburnum, Pudding Pipe tree, Kani Konna, Purging Cassia, Purging Fistula etc.

The Cassia has a few distinguishing features — it is slightly small but has a spreading crown, long drooping branches and numerous, feathery leaves. Its branches are rough. The flowers are similar but the sepals are smooth, green inside and deep-red underneath.

Amaltash is used to beautify streets, avenues, parks and gardens. It is extensively used in avenue plantation in the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia. Amaltas can be altered along the avenues with Gulmohar (Krishnachura) and Jacaranda (Blue-Mauve) as the flowering season of these trees synchronise with each other.


The Amaltash tree grows best in full sun, hot and dry conditions on well-drained acidic soil. It is relatively drought-tolerant and slightly salt-tolerant too.

Water the tree freely during the heat of summer when the plant actively grows with new leaves and stem length. Supplement natural rainfall as the soil needs to be kept moist. A prolonged dry spell during the summer-growing season retards its growth and may cause premature leaf drop or branch die-back.

For healthy growth and abundance of flowers, apply a general, well-balanced fertiliser annually.


Amaltash can be subject to mildew or leaf spot infestation. Occasionally some caterpillars feed on the foliage and make the plants leafless. Naturally, the half-eaten foliage ruins the beauty of this graceful tree. Pests and diseases can be controlled by systematic application of insecticides and pesticides.


Amaltash can be propagated by seeds but the percentage of seed germination is poor. Amaltash seeds are hard, and it is advised to put them in boiling water for a few minutes before sowing.

Seed-sowing is done in the monsoon season. Seedlings are grown in a grow pot for the first year, and they can be planted directly on the ground in the monsoon season.

Multiple uses

The tree has multiple medicinal uses and is beneficial in treating constipation, common cold, chlorosis and urinary disorders. Its leaves are effective against herpes simplex virus and the bark of the Cassia is one of the ingredients in ayurvedic and other traditional medicine anti-diabetic formulations.

A therapeutic substance made from the tree’s pulp is sometimes added to tobacco and a paste of its flowers is used as an ointment for pimples.

In the Indian subcontinent, flowers of the Golden Shower are sometimes eaten by people. Its leaves have also been used to supplement the diets of cattle, sheep, and goats.

Author, a GD Block resident and secretary of the Bidhannagar Horticultural Society, shares tips on gardening

Last updated on 24.11.23, 10:46 AM

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