Buds followed by splashes of red, orange and (rarely) white on tall road side trees herald the onset of spring in Delhi. This is the Semal Tree breaking into blossoms.
The botanical name of this tree is Bombax Ceiba and its common name in Hindi is semul as also Silk Cotton Tree or simply Cotton Tree. Its flower is almost 15 cm across and weighs about 50 gm. Red and orange varieties are common, and a white colored variety exists and I have seen it just once. The blossoms lay a carpet of color below the tree.
The fruit of the tree is almost 12 cm long and filled with silky cotton packed with tiny seeds. The fruit splits open and its cotton strands float away in the air, carrying the seed far and wide.
All parts of this tree are useful. The calyx of the bud is edible and used as vegetable. The dry core is used in Noodle soup. The tree is very insect friendly and attracts bees, birds & spiders. It is fun for kids and seniors to pick the flowers from the carpet laid below the tree. There are endless medicinal applications.
Leaving aside all things, I am simply enamored of its beauty. Enjoy these pictures taken by my Nikon.
In closing, let me tell you about a wonder Semul Tree in Uttarkhand, accidently spotted by local forest guards, which measures a gigantic 54 ft in girth! This blog features its image and to know more about it, log in to
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SMILE A WHILE
dug the plot on Monday, the soil was rich and fine
But she forgot to put the dinner on, so out we went to dine.
planted roses Tuesday, she says they are a must.
They really were quite lovely, but she forgot to dust.
Wednesday it was daisies they opened with the sun,
All pinks and whites and yellows, but the laundry wasn’t done.
poppies came on Thursday all bright and cherry red,
I guess she really was engrossed, she never made the bed.
was violets here on Friday in colours she adores,
It never bothered her at all, the dirt upon our floors.
I hired a maid, I’d not admit defeat,
She can garden all she wants now and the house will still be neat It’s nearly lunchtime Sunday I cannot find the maid,
Oh I don’t believe it. She’s out there alongside my wife with her own spade!