Flame of the Forest / Parasu

Butea monosperma



General Information :

    • A medium sized Deciduous tree with open crown.
    • Bark rough, grey to pale brown in color.
    • Leaves dark green in color.
    • Flowers are bright red in color.
    • Single seed with thin papery reddish brown seed coat.

    Distribution :


    • Throughout the greater parts of India.

    Habitat : Dry Deciduous forests

    Soil : Common in saline soils, black cotton soil and tank bunds.

    Soil pH : 7-8

    Altitude :Up to 1300 m (MSL)

    Rainfall :500-3800 mm

    Temperature : Up to 47°C

    Terrain : Plains and Hilly.

    Tree Characteristics :
    • It is a light demander, frost hardy and drought resistant.
    • It coppices well.

    Habit : Deciduous Tree

    Planting Guidelines

    Natural Regeneration :

    • Natural regeneration from seeds  and coppice. 

    Artificial Regeneration :

    • Seedlings can be easily propagated by Nursery raised seedlings.

    Seed collection and Storage :

    • The fruits ripen during May-July.
    • It is not necessary to extract seed from pods, they equally germinate well.
    • Seeds 9800-14800/ kg.
    • Seeds can be stored in sealed containers for one year.

    Seed Treatment :

    • No seed treatment is required.

    Nursery Technique :

    • The seeds are broadcasted in mother bed of standard size during May.
    • Seeds germinate within 10 days.
    • Mother bed weeded and watered regularly.
    • Two leaf seedlings are transplanted in polybags and raised in nursery for 6 months.

    Plantation technique :

      Nursery raised Seedlings:  

    • 6 months old nursery raised seedlings are selected for planting.
    • Pit size of 30 cm3
    • Spacing adopted  2 – 3 m in lines.

    Care & Disease Control :

    • Thinning depends on the rate of tree growth.
    • For Lac cultivation, trees have to be systematically pruned and pollarded, to get flush of succulent shoots for injection.

    Irrigation :

    • For proper growth and survival, it is necessary to give one or two waterings after planting. This is specifically required in arid regions.
    • Higher survival rate and better rate of growth is reported when soil and water conservation measures are also adopted.

    Recommended Harvest :


    • 15 – 30 years

    Yield :

    Coppice management yields roughly 100 kg/tree of air-dry fuel wood every 5 years.

    Major uses :

    • It is a most important host tree for Lac Cultivation in India, for which the branches are pollarded up to 4 cm dia.
    • It is useful for Afforestation of saline/alkaline and water logged areas.
    • The timber is mainly used as fuel and gun powder charcoal.
    • The leaves are used as fodder for cattle.
    • A red juice from incisions in the bark, which hardens into ruby colored gum, known as Butea gum or Bengal kino.

    Other uses :

    • Flowers yield ornge dye for colouring cotton dyes.
    • Leaves are used for leaf plates and bidi wrapping.
    • Incision of bark gives clear red gum or bengal kino.