My amaltas Tree

Posted on June 23, 2008
Filed Under >Raza Rumi
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Raza Rumi

I grew up watching an amaltas (Cassia fistula) grow in our side-garden in Lahore. Each spring would bring flowers on the creepers and shortly thereafter the Amaltas would start blooming with yellow flowers setting fire to the little garden adjacent to my room. Lahore’s roads would also glow in the summer adding much zest to a loveable, hot summer.

Heat would make one yearn for the rains. So the cycle of seasons would continue with Amaltas at the centre of transitions and unforgettable for the colour and unfathomable beauty.

In Dhaka, Delhi and so many South Asian cities I have watched Amaltas trees in full bloom. The picture above (taken in Islamabad by a newspaper correspondent) today brought back all those muddled memories. Luckily, where I live now, Amalatas exists with a different local name.

Comforting, like an old acquaintance, it is still there in my life. It has not abandoned me.

A version of this post also appeared at Lahore Nama

Photo Credits:

19 responses to “My amaltas Tree”

  1. Raza Rumi says:

    What lovely comments – many visitors have their personal memories and associations with this extraordianry tree..

    Ayaz: Yes they survive in the pollution and hottest of climes..that is what makes the amaltas so amazing..
    Hina: Nice to hear about the Toot tree – another dying breed (like the value system)
    MQ: the photos are brilliant. Where did you plant them?
    Auk: Where is the Amaltas Road? Most intriguing – I need to go there..

  2. auk says:

    I grew up on a street named Amaltas Road, in a very quiet part of the country. Right across from our house were three Amaltas trees. The happiest memories of my childhood include those yellow blossoms, and the days of July and August when rains would come and make them look more vivid. Thanks Rumi for sharing this.

  3. MQ says:

    Amaltas, in full bloom, is one of the most flamboyant trees native to Pakistan.It starts blooming in late May-early June in Islamabad and seems to defy the heat and drought when every other living thing is seeking cover from the blazing summer sun. It is appropriately called Golden Shower.

    Here are 2 photos of an Amaltas that I planted a few years ago. It must be in full bloom right now

  4. Hina says:

    My childhood memories of edible flora and fauna revolve around the “Toot tree”. The enormous tree was right outside our front door and as soon as it bored fruit we would start throwing stones targeting the shahtoots. The gray cement sarak underneath the tree will be dyed marronish purple though out the season. Haider Lala, grandma’s driver, made sure never to park the car underneath the tree during the peak season and our ears were boxed if we appeared before Ami with toot stains on our clothes especially on the white sash of the school uniform.
    I haven’t set eyes on a Toot tree in more then a decade :long sigh:

  5. Ayaz K. says:

    …guess such trees are so much immuned to pullution and dust now. They survive in such an environment where eveything is so messed up. Thanks for sharing this article.

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