African tulips

Spothadea campanulata! What a mouthful. The alternative to that is the long name African tulip tree, or the more mellifluous rudra palash. I can see two of them from my balcony, each tree about 12 meters high, as close as I can estimate. They have been in flower all the months that I’ve been shut in, and now the flowers are denser than ever. I saw some little insects buzzing around the flowers, and tried to look at them more closely with my camera (see below). They are too small to resolve, but I got a larger visitor in the background of one of my photos (see above).

These exotics (apparently originally from the cloud forests of central Africa) grow easily in India. I’m fascinated by the flowers, and I’m happy that our gardener decided to plant them outside our balcony. I’ve not heard of them escaping and forming ecological threats. In fact, in some parts of the world they seem to serve as hosts to most native species of butterflies and moths, even though they are exotic.That seems to be true of India as well. But, as I looked for more information, it turned out that in some of the islands of the south Pacific, such as Tahiti, they are considered to be dangerous pests. There are many studies of the conditions under which they spread, and how to stop them. Perhaps it is the higher temperatures in India which keeps them from spreading.