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THE SCARLET STERCULIA or KASHI Erythropsis colorata Burk. (Order: Sterculiaceae).

Erythropsis from Greek in allusion to the red colouring of the flowers. Colorata means coloured in reference to the bright colouring of the flowers (calyx). Description: A moderate-sized deciduous tree. Leaves large, broader than long, 4 to 8 by 5 to 9 in., very variable in shape, commonly 3-lobed, lobes triangular, acuminate at the tips, base deeply cordate, stalk 4 to,12 inches long, nerves 3 to 5 from the top of the petiole to the tips of the lobes. Flowers about 1 in. long, many together appearing at the ends of the branches when the tree is leafless. Calyx funnel-shaped with small triangular lobes, covered with a scarlet red dust. Fruit composed of 3 to 5 papery follicles about three inches long, leaf-like, elliptic, veined, with two seeds attached to the margin of the follicle. Distribution: The Satpuras up to 3,700 ft.; Western Ghats from South Kanara to Travancore, Konkan and the Deccan Forests, N. Circars, Mt. Abu, East Bengal, Burma, Andamans. Ceylon, Indo-China, Siam. Gardening: Propagated by seed. The seeds should be planted soon after they mature. Uses: The bark yields an inferior fibre, strong but coarse, occasionally used for ropes. The leaves are used as cattle fodder. Note: The tubular flowers are visited by sun-birds, green bulbuls and some other nectar-feeding birds. Birds probably form the chief pollinating agents. The papery follicles dry soon after reaching maturity and are easily detached by the hot dry winds prevalent about that time. They act as sails to the seeds which are also easily separated from them,