Flame of the Forest tree

Indian Flame of the Forest, also known as Butea monosperma, is a deciduous tree species found widely across the Indian subcontinent. It is known for its striking orange-red flowers that bloom in clusters, making it a popular ornamental tree. In this article, we will explore the physical characteristics, ecological role, natural habitat, growth stages, and economic benefits of the Indian Flame of the Forest.

Tree CharacteristicsDescription
Common NameIndian Flame of the Forest
Scientific nameButea monosperma
Maximum heightUp to 20 meters
Diameter of crownUp to 15 meters in diameter
Diameter of the trunkUp to 1 meter in diameter
Years to grow10 to 20 years
Economic benefit to the farmersUsed for timber, fuelwood, and medicine

Physical Characteristics

Indian Flame of the Forest is a medium-sized tree that can grow up to a height of 10-15 meters. The tree has a spreading crown with a broad canopy that can reach a diameter of 8-10 meters. The leaves are pinnate and usually grow up to 15-20 cm in length, with each leaf having 5-7 leaflets. The flowers of the Indian Flame of the Forest are showy and bright, ranging from yellow-orange to deep red in color.

Ecological Role

Indian Flame of the Forest plays an important ecological role in India. The tree is a host plant for many species of butterflies, including the common crow, plain tiger, and blue tiger. The flowers of the tree attract a wide range of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and birds. The tree is also known to fix nitrogen in the soil, which is beneficial for the growth of other plants in the surrounding area.

Importance to Birds, Animals, and Insects

Indian Flame of the Forest is an important food source for many birds and animals, including parakeets, mynahs, and monkeys. The tree also provides shelter for a variety of animals, including squirrels and insects such as beetles and ants.

Type of Soil Needed for Growing

Indian Flame of the Forest is a hardy tree that can grow in a wide range of soils. However, it prefers well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter.

Climatic Conditions

Indian Flame of the Forest grows best in warm and humid conditions. It prefers a tropical or sub-tropical climate and can tolerate temperatures ranging from 10°C to 40°C.

States in India Where the Tree is Found Naturally

Indian Flame of the Forest is found naturally in many states across India, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.

Different Stages of Tree Growth in Detail

The Indian Flame of the Forest grows in three stages: the juvenile stage, the young adult stage, and the mature stage. During the juvenile stage, the tree grows rapidly and develops a strong root system. The young adult stage is characterized by the growth of the tree trunk and the formation of the crown. The mature stage is when the tree reaches its maximum height and starts to produce flowers and seeds.

How Farmers are Benefited

Indian Flame of the Forest is often grown under agroforestry systems in India. Farmers benefit from the tree by using its leaves and flowers as fodder for their livestock. The tree is also used as a shade tree in coffee and tea plantations, providing shade to the crops and improving soil fertility. The timber of the Indian Flame of the Forest is also highly valued for its strength and durability and is used in the construction of furniture, buildings, and boats.


Indian Flame of the Forest has a number of uses, both practical and cultural. Some of these uses are:

Timber: The wood of the Indian Flame of the Forest tree is hard and durable, making it ideal for construction, furniture making, and other carpentry applications.

Medicinal uses: Various parts of the tree are used in traditional medicine to treat a range of ailments, including fever, diarrhea, skin diseases, and respiratory problems.

Ornamental purposes: Indian Flame of the Forest is widely cultivated as an ornamental tree in parks, gardens, and along roadsides for its attractive flowers.

Dyeing: The tree produces a red dye that can be used to color fabrics.

Honey production: The tree’s flowers are a source of nectar for honeybees, making it an important tree for honey production.

Cultural significance: The tree has cultural significance in India, and is associated with the festival of Holi, during which people throw the tree’s flowers as part of the celebration. It is also believed to have religious significance in Hinduism.

Shade and windbreak: Indian Flame of the Forest is a good shade tree and is often planted as a windbreak in agricultural areas.

Soil conservation: The tree’s deep roots help to bind soil and prevent erosion, making it useful in soil conservation efforts.


Indian Flame of the Forest is a valuable tree species in India, providing a range of ecological and economic benefits. Its striking flowers and broad canopy make it a popular ornamental tree, while its importance to wildlife and role in soil fertility make it an important tree for agroforestry. Its ability to grow in a wide range of soils and climates makes it a versatile tree species that can be grown in many different regions of India.

image_pdfDownload As PDF

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *