The Rain tree(Enterolobium saman) :Found everywhere in Bangalore, this enormous tree spreads a huge canopy over the streets and gardens it grows in. I’ve always imagined Enid Blyton’s Magic faraway Tree to be a cross between a giant Rain Tree and a towering Raspuri Mango. All year round, especially in June, it produces a gossamer web of delicate pink feathery flowers that slowly turn to giant seed pods that fall and melt into bumps on the roads. At night, the leaves fold into themselves, as the tree, along with all its resident bats, crows, mynahs, bulbuls and crickets, goes to sleep.
The most enormous Rain Trees in Bangalore certainly have to be the three giants at the Malleshwaram station, not to forget the goliath in front of the State Bank of India on St Marks Road.
The Rusty Shield Bearer (Or the Copper Pod Tree): (Peltophorum) Also ubiquitous to Bangalore’s streets, this big broad sturdy tree carpets roads and gardens with pretty yellow blossoms thrice a year. The flower stalks then produce rusty brown shield like pods that give this beauty its name. Caution: Ants – the big fat nasty ones, LOVE this tree, I couldn’t ever figure out why!
The peacock tree: (Caesalpinea pulcherrimma) This tough spiny shrub-tree produces bunches of beautiful yellow-orange flowers all through the year. It is especially fond of arid regions in North Karnataka and Andhra, but blooms with obliging regularity in Bangytown too. Right now, the small bunch of peeping out at the passing traffic on Chinnaswamy stadium road, is in full bloom.
The Champa: (Michelia champaca) Did you know that the Indian Champa is actually a magnolia? This tall beautiful mast like tree produces headily fragrant blooms through the year but mostly in the monsoon. A gorgeous lungful for all that pass by under it. Sampige road, named after the Champa trees planted along its side, especially in the 17th cross area, is the best place to view them.
Frangipani: (Plumeria) Definitely up there among Bangalore's beauteous bloomers . Blooms in a fragrant riot of colours all year round. This tree isn’t from India, and is often confused with the Indian Champa above, especially in the north. A huge copse of blood red Frangipani is in full bloom right now at the Nehru planetarium, as you drive past the Raj Bhavan towards Chalukya Hotel.
The Honge (or Pongam): (Pongamia) This stocky, unprepossessing tree-shrub is notorious for causing major skids on the roads with its carpet of oily lilac flowers. Interestingly, it has been proven to be India’s most cooling tree, and is therefore ideal for hot or dusty places.
The Queens Flower (Lagerstroemia): A beautiful specimen of this Western Ghat species sycophantically named named after Vickie Rani, is quite coincidentally in dramatic bloom in front of her statue at the beginning of MG Road.
Bauhinia (err.. Bauhinia) :This is an odd little tree that looks like a creeper that has coiled up around itself.It produces wispy pink and lilac flowers all year around. But its most beautiful features are its lovely heart shaped leaves. If I were Shakuntala, I’d write out my love note to Dushyanta on a Bauhinia leaf.