Friday, July 3, 2009

Wonders in Indian Coral Tree and in its seeds!

The Indian Coral Tree (Erythrina variegata, ‘Mul Murungai’ or ‘Sudukaai Maram’ in Tamil) blooms in the cool winter months of February and March, here in India. The flowers are bright red in color. They are seen grouped as bananas are seen. They are rich with nectar. Both their color and nectar attract many birds, like Humming birds and many insects like Honey bees. Whenever my Coral tree blooms, I find the honey bees build their hive even inside scooter’s exhaust pipe! These bees have colonized near the bountiful tree:

The tree is seen blooming even on the hills (for example, the nearby ‘Mahalinga malai’). It’s trunk is studded with short thorns that nobody climbs on it. Even wood cutters are reluctant to cut its wood for fuel!
Though I know about this Coral tree only in the recent years, I know well about its seeds in my early childhood itself:

Our group of children used to take out these seeds from the pods of this tree and brush hard one of it against the rough ground surface once or twice and press it on one another’s skin unwarily – to give the intense burning heat sensation that it produces!

This wonder tree with its seeds enchants me throughout my life! 

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