Gold that Grows on Trees?

The Golden Shower, scientifically known as the Cassia fistula, belongs to the Fabaceae plant family and is native to southern Asia. The tree and its flower happen to be the national tree and national flower of Thailand. It is also the state tree and state flower of Kerala in India. It is a popular ornamental plant and is an important source of herbal medicine. This a medium-sized tree that grows up to 10 to 20 meters tall. It can grow very quickly and has strong and durable wood. Its leaves are deciduous, about 15 to 60 centimeters long, pinnate with roughly eight pairs of leaflets.

Each of these leaflets is about seven to 21 centimeters long and four to nine centimeters wide. The flowers are produced in pendulous racemes about 20 to 40 centimeters long. The flower usually measures around four to seven centimeters in diameter and has five yellow petals of equal size and shape. The fruit is black and cylindrical and has a pungent odor. Its seeds are said to be poisonous.

The tree blooms profusely during the summer and it usually gets almost entirely covered by flowers. No doubt, it’s a spectacular sight, especially when it’s exposed to full sunlight and grown in dry climates. It thrives in well-drained soil and is relatively drought-tolerant and slightly salt-tolerant. It’s vulnerable to pest and disease problems, usually to powdery mildew or leaf spot, and sometimes some leaf eating caterpillars.

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