Indian Laburnum (Cassia Fistula)
Commonly called 'amaltas' in Hindi, Cassia Fistula is a native tree of India. The name Laburnum is derived from a Greek name of Dioscorides ? an ancient tree with an aromatic bark; and Fistula in Latin means Pipe, referring to the shape of the pod. The tree is also called the Golden Shower or the Pudding Pipe tree.
It is a medium-sized tree that sheds its leaves in the summer months. The young trees have grayish smooth bark which becomes rough and brown in older trees. The trees are slow in growth and take about ten years to attain a considerable size. The tree produces golden yellow pendant flower in April- May. At this time, it is nearly leafless. The tree continues to flower till the new leaves appear with the rains. The fruit pods are 1-2 feet long and dark brown in colour. It is an ideal tree for gardens and avenues. This tree has many uses. The hard wood is used to make carts and agricultural tools. The pulp is used as a medical laxative and to flavor tobacco. The bark is used for tanning. The Santhal tribe in Bihar and Jharkhand use the flowers as food.