Stop the madness _ let roadside trees reach their full glory
Trees absorb pollutants and provide beauty and shade to city streets, but unfortunately Thailand, rather than allow them to thrive the common practice is to routinely cut them down to their trunks or do away with them altogether
I was travelling along Rama IV Road last week when I saw that some of the Pterocarpus indicus, known in Thai as pradoo, trees on the roadside had flowers. Pradoo usually flower in April and it is now July, so these were late bloomers. Especially spectacular was a tree across the streets from Chamchuri Square. It was small but it completely shrouded by flowers, which was unusual as pradoo shed their leaves two or three months after the end of the rainy season and develop new ones before or during blooming time in the summer, so the golden flowers are always accompanied by lush green leaves.
I made a mental note to bring my camera the following day so that I could take some pictures, but the next day there was no sign of the flowers _ it was as if the trees blooming in all their glory the day before were but a dream. There was no flower even on the ground, Bangkok's street sweepers having already swept up earlier in the day.
Pradoo is the symbol of the Royal Thai Navy, apparently because its tiny golden flowers open at the same time and fall at the same time, signifying unity. The truth, however, is that the flowers, which come in panicles or racemes, do not open simultaneously. The flowers in the lower part of the panicle open first, lasting for one day before their petals drop to carpet the ground beneath the tree. After a short period, when the flowers in the upper portion of the panicle open and blossom, there is a second falling of petals, although not as profusely as before.
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