Tuesday, April 07, 2009


This was the first Amaltas (Cassia fistula) blooming that have I sighted upon this year. This beautiful tree is located right at the middle of the Mint Road junction not too far from Ballard Estate. Amaltas is one of my favorite trees and I long to see them bloom at this time of the year. It is also called the Indian laburnum, not to be mixed up with the Laburnum trees of the famous Laburnum Road at Gamdevi. It is also called the Golden shower tree and is indigenous to India.

The first time I had seen an Amaltas tree was many years ago in Pune, near Kothrud and it had shed all its leaves and was in full bloom. It was not a very big tree and so looked very delicate with beautiful golden-ish yellow flowers that resemble grapes hanging from the branches. The tree remains leafless for a period between March and May. You may not even notice this tree at other times of the year when it is not blooming.

I guess the Amaltas has a lot of fan following. Here is a detailed post from another Amaltas fan. Like this one, everyone thinks that Gamdevi’s Laburnum road is lined with Amaltas trees but they are not the Amaltas but Laburnums imported from England. The Amaltas tree is said to a cousin of the English Laburnum. It is believed that Gandhiji used to gaze at these Laburnum trees from the Mani Bhavan which is located on Laburnum Road at Gamdevi. If you want to know more about Laburnum Road, read Windy Skies excellent post on the same.
Historian, Sharada Dwivedi too had an excellent tale to tell. She has been quoted in the Indian Express, “A few years ago some of the wiser citizens had decided to rename the famous Laburnum Road near Gamdevi, under the impression that it was named after some Englishman. Only at the eleventh hour the BMC came to know the road was named after the Laburnum tree that used to grow in that area, and a big bloomer was averted.''

I have seen many Amaltas trees all over Mumbai including one near the Eros theatre and at the B P T Park at Colaba. If you spot any others around, do let me know.


ChUcK said...

Wonderful stuff, Abodh. Speak to any male from the Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA) about Amaltas and you will be sure that his eyes will wist over... Amaltas is the legendary men's hostel for second year students :-)

Love your blog. You have a regular reader.

Ronak said...

You see a lot of them in the Godrej Mill compound in Vikhroli when u are travelling by local trains.. They are an awesome sight especially when you have a group of these along with gulmohar trees...

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