AMALTAS – a native of India – (Botanical name – Cassia fistula)

P.K. Datta

Dwarka with its vast expanse nearly 7 kms towards any outlet be it Dabri, Uttam Nagar via Kakrola Mor, Indian Oil Depot towards domestic airport or underpass at Sector 22 has lakhs of trees of almost all the varieties. Enter Dwarka from any side, the roads are beautifully done with Alstonia, Copper Pod, Katsagon, Jamun , Putranjiva, Siris and Pilkhan etc., lined up as avenue trees on both sides of the roads primarily in both flowery and evergreen compositions.

I often used to wonder why flowering trees have not been used as “avenue trees to cast a natural spell of riot of colours” strewn all around other parts of the city as the lovely and radiant Gulmohars, bright golden Amaltas and soothing purple Jarul – the last one hardly seen in Dwarka, until, I, per chance, saw a beautiful Amaltas tree at the crossing adjacent to Godrej Apartments in Sector 10 prompting me to stop my car at one side and take a few pictures of this marvel of Mother Nature.

Going down the lane to the other end of the road upto T point near the petrol pump, I was amazed to count myself 212 Amaltas trees in full bloom casting a spell of the “Golden Street” lined up on both sides of the 1.8 km long curvature avenue with yellow petals showered on both sides of the avenue as if Nature was benevolently unfolding the yellow petals from its flowers on its children in perfect celebration of an extended Akshay Tritiya for over two months with the road berms brimming with three inch thick yellow leaves on all sides leaving a “golden lining” down on earth.

Amaltas drops most of its leaves in winter and starts producing shining green leaves in early summer. The feathery leaves are usually large and wide resembling ear-lobes of a beautiful lady. Soon the plant starts blooming that can last till the end of summer season. During the flowering season, the whole tree is covered with large clusters of uncountable delicate yellow flowers. The profuse and bright fragrant flowers of Amaltas shine bright under the hot sun of summer and make a spectacular show. Delicate flowers drop to cover the ground turning it in to a yellow carpet, that is why, Cassia Fistula is also called The Golden Shower tree.

Amaltas is one of the most beautiful of all tropical trees growing up to 40 feet tall with a hard reddish woody trunk combining the best of two beautiful colours Yellow which relates to the spleen and life energy. It is the color of awakening, inspiration, intelligence and action shared, creative, playful, optimistic, easy-going and Green which relates to heart and lungs. It is a very comfortable, healthy color of nature. When seen in the aura this usually represents growth and balance, and most of all, something that leads to change.

Amaltas is a very valuable medicinal tree and has been used in Ayurveda as a gentle laxative, which can be taken safely even by children and expectant mothers. it’s fruit helps in soothing senses and also in reliving the symptoms of asthma, leprosy, ringworm, fever and heart related diseases, constipation, acidity or flatulence.

Amaltas shares a wonderful relationship with Ants as the tree provides them a safe heaven who in turn reciprocate by breathing out carbon dioxide thus contributing a significant share of carbon and nitrogen for the plants.

All these treasures of Mother Nature are available to us through different times of the year. All you need to appreciate them is to look around yourself and some colour or other will always be there for you to enjoy. Do not mistake the trees as mundane lamp posts !