• Botanical Name : Amherstia nobilis
  • Common Name : Pride of Burma
  • Location : Nursery Siddahapura road
  • Date : 21.3.19

Pride of Burma is a tropical tree with exceptionally beautiful flowers. It is also known as the Orchid Tree, a name otherwise reserved for members of the genus Bauhinia. The extravagant flowers are seen hanging from the long inflorescence, or flower stalk, which is a bright crimson red at the end. There are 5 petals although 2 of these are minute and the rest are of unequal size. The petals are also crimson; the two medium sized petals are yellow at the tip and the largest petal is broad and fan-shaped with a wavy upper margin and a yellow triangle of colour extending from the lip down into the flower. This large petal may be 7.5 cm long and over 4 centimetres wide at the end. There are either 9 or 10 stamens, 9 of which are partially fused into a pink sheath; the stamens are of two differing lengths with the longer ones having larger anthers. The compound leaves bear 6 – 8 large leaflets; these are broadly oblong in shape and are a whitish colour underneath. The fruits, or seedpods, are 11-20 cm long. They are roughly scimitar-shaped and the woody outer case opens to disperse the seeds. Pride of Burma is very rare in the wild and has only been collected in native habitat a few times. It is native to Burma (Myanmar) hence the common name.

As I strolled into lalbagh with my camera and my son, I suddenly remembered the “Pride of Burma” tree I had not visited in a while. Lost my way twice and just when I was about to loose my patience I saw this beautiful strand of flowers hanging solely on the tree I was in the quest for today. So these belong to a family called “Fabacacea” or “The Pea family “. Now to a non botanist like me Pea family is never a tree. So why and how does this tree fall under the family of Peas. Here is what I found .. So what is a pea family and how do you recognise them? These are irregular flowers, with 5 petals forming a distinctive “banner, wings, and keel”, as shown in the illustration(image from internet). The banner is a single petal with two lobes though it looks like two that are fused together. Two more petals form the wings. The remaining two petals make up the keel and are usually fused together. The proportions of the parts may vary from one species to another, but as long as there is clearly a banner, wings and keel, then the plant is a member of the Pea family. Pea-like pods are another distinctive trait of the family. For practice, look at a head of clover in the lawn. You will see that each head is a cluster of many small Pea flowers, each with its own banner, wings, and keel. As the flowers mature each one forms a tiny pea-like pod. I’ll bet you never noticed that before! More info on Fabacacea https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabaceae More pictures in the comments.. ‘Amherstia nobilis’ OR Pride of Burma, Family : Fabaceae Place : Lalbagh 8.5.18

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