Botanical Name: Spathodea
Common Name: Nandi Flame
Trade Name: Rukonjo
General Information: A nice flowering tree with a rounded crown, usually from 10m to 15m in height. Grown from the Coast up to 2000m.
Habitat: Native to the Lake Victoria Basin in Uganda and Western Kenya and also to West Africa in general. This tree is now widely planted as an ornamental tree throughout the tropics including Kenya.
Flowers: Fiery orange red in vivid terminal clusters, each flower is irregularly trumpet-shaped and about 12cm long with frilly petal edges and a throat tinged with yellow. Flowers emerge in turn from rounded whorls of enlarged spathe like buds that contain copious watery fluid that squirts out if the buds are pierced.
Fruits: Dark brown woody capsules up to 25cm in length, often seen in pairs, but can also be solitary. They stand erect, splitting on the ground to release abundant flat seeds with transparent rounded wings up to 3.5cm across.
Leaves: Compounded up to 40cm in length. Leaflets are 3 to 6 pairs plus a terminal leaflet, each oval, up to 12cm long and tapering sharply to a pointed apex; reins conspicuous underside softly furry, leaves yellow green maturing to dark green with a wavy, rather puckered appearance; leaf blister often noticeable. Young shoots, buds and branchlets are densely covered with soft yellow brown hairs.
Bark: Pale greyish-brown, fairly smooth, becoming rougher and scaling with age. Older trees develop rounded buttresses towards the base of the trunk.
Uses: One of Kenya’s finest indigenous flowering trees, they are ideal for gardens, parks or avenues. Young plants are widely available from nurseries. Best planted in red or forest soil in sheltered positions, although capable of succeeding in black cotton soil as well.
Medical Uses: Not known
Propagation: Seedlings (sow seed in pots), cuttings.