By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
In southern regions, growing Pride of Burma trees as focal points in the garden lends elegance and statuesque color to the landscape. Learn how to grow a Pride of Burma tree and astound your neighbors with several seasons of appeal in this article.
Amherstia nobilis (Burmese: သော်ကကြီး [θɔ̀ka̰ dʑí] the Pride of Burma, in the family Fabaceae) is a tropical tree with large, showy flowers. It is the only member of the genus Amherstia. It is widely cultivated for ornament in the humid tropics, but is very rare in the wild and has only been collected from its native habitat a few times. It is native to Burma (Myanmar), hence the common name. The scientific name commemorates Lady Amherst, (as does Lady Amherst's pheasant) and also her daughter Sarah.  Another common name, orchid tree, is also used for members of the genus Bauhinia.
The extravagant flowers are seen hanging from the long inflorescence, or flower stalk, which is a bright crimson red at the end. There are 5 petals although 2 of these are minute and the rest are of unequal size. These petals are also crimson the two medium-sized petals are yellow at the tip and the largest petal is broad and fan-shaped with a wavy upper margin and a yellow triangle of colour extending from the lip down into the flower. This large petal can reach 7.5 centimetres long and over 4 centimetres wide at the end. There are either 9 or 10 stamens, 9 of which are partially fused into a pink sheath the stamens are of two differing lengths with the longer ones having larger anthers. The compound leaves bear 6 - 8 large leaflets these are broadly oblong in shape and are pallid underneath.
The fruits (legumes) are 11 to 20 centimetres long. They are roughly scimitar-shaped pods, and the woody outer case opens to disperse the seeds.
Bangladesh is a rich land of biodiversity. About 6000 species of plants are gathered in such a small area of 147570 sq km. We are trying to introduce the flora of Bangladesh in a pack from the naturalist view, not from the eye of plant-expert. For this, there will be some unwanted mistakes. Needless to say, pics used in this site are all original. The information is gathered here from the personal notes, collected books and from different websites.
Raj oshok or Pride of Burma (Amherstia nobilis, family: Caesalpiniaceae) is an evergreen medium-sized tree with branches, attaining a height of 10-15 m. The slow-growing tree looks like its family member Ashoka. The plant is originated in Myanmar. It is found in the Hill Tracts of Chattogram in Bangladesh as well as some countries of Southeast Asia. It is grown in gardens, parks, botanical gardens and along roadsides for its extraordinary shape of flowers.
Common names: Queen of flowers, Queen of flowering trees, Burma flower, Amherstia, Shokrey.
Leaves are compound, rachis 30-45 cm long. Leaflet is lanceolate, 10-15 cm long. Young leaves with various beautiful shades of pink, copper, mauve or purple hanging loosely from the end of branches, turn bright green on becoming firm.
Fruits are pods, 8-12 cm long and 3 cm wide. Young pods are vivid red. Sedds 4-5. Propagation of the plant is caused by seeds and air layering. There is no guarantee that it will bear fruits every year and no guarantee that seedlings will grow the seeds!. The plant grows well in moist soil and in partial shade.
It is becoming more and more limited in its own habitat. Therefore, as an ornamental tree, it should be planted in roadside, gardens and parks all over the country.
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Perhaps the most beautiful of flowering tropical trees, certainly attractive enough to earn the sobriquet Queen of Flowering Trees. Obscure origins add to the mystique of this noble petite tree. It has only been collected from the wild a couple of times, in the forests of Burma, leading to its common name Pride of Burma. The tree has compound leaves and a great profusion of large, irregular, yellow-spotted scarlet flowers. The genus is named after Lady Sarah Amherst, who collected plants in Asia in the early Nineteenth century. Not only is she commemorated in one of the most beautiful of the worlds trees, she also lends her name to Lady Amherst pheasant one of the most elegant birds. The new leaves are produced in flaccid pale tassels that turn purplish before they green and open out. When not in flower, Amherstia looks similar to Saracca, another Asian legume genus. The leaves unfurl in handkerchief fashion like the Brownea and Maniltoa. New leaf growth is reddish, hangs down at first.
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But not everyone believes that nats should be worshipped, perhaps because the carefree partying is incongruous with traditional Buddhism. Chit Ko Ko received reports last year of “monks beating gay visitors and nat dancers” at the festival. Ko Ko is the founder of the MSM Network, and has set up shop at the festival, offering HIV testing and support to gay and trans people.
One of his friends, Linn Linn, is a nat-kadaw. “My family is disappointed as they wanted a strong man,” he says, gesturing with his muscles. Linn Linn has been a monk twice, “once when I was seven and then again in my twenties”. Thankfully there’s no sign of hostility this year, and from novice monks to punks, believers, non-believers, young and old, everyone is here to enjoy what’s on offer, with delight rather than judgement.
For visitors like me, the real treat is the dancing. This doesn’t get going until the opening ceremony, four days into the festival. It takes place in the main temple, which gets uncomfortably packed. It’s not for everyone – Nay Lin and Ko Ko refuse to come with me, saying it’s “too busy”, and I soon see what they mean. As I reach the temple, I’m swept along by the jostling crowd. Inside I can hardly see a thing – nor can my Go-Pro which conks out under the heat. I make my exit twice: first, being swept down the temple steps by the undercurrent of crowds second, being pulled out of the fray by a police officer who decides that, as a tourist I need rescuing.
The day after the ceremony is a better time to visit – with fewer crowds I’m able to wander round the pop-up streets and happen across performances. You’re meant to tip – or make offerings to – the nat-kadaws as they dance, and a guy from the village checks what I hold in my hand, before nodding approvingly. Cash offerings must be a minimum of 10,000 kyat (£5). Anything less will be thrown back at the offerer with mock disdain.
Most kadaws are in their fifties, but new ones emerge every year – and I find myself in the right place at the right time to witness a new embodiment. New mediums are compelled to dance as the nat enters their body – it looks spontaneous to be as outsider, though I would imagine conversations take place about whose turn it is to perform. One guy’s attempt fails (apparently getting squiffy on Burmese beer before claiming to be embodied is a no-no). He looks on despondently as a trans woman goes next. She needs to be supported, wavering as she adjusts to the spirit’s whims. Her dance is more salubrious than the other guy’s though, plus she ignores the pile of money thrown up in the air for spectators to grab, making her a dead cert for a genuine kadaw.
As well as money, scents and stifling heat in the air, there’s love. Whether with love for a new partner, or simply gratitude for the new experiences, it’s not just the nat-kadaws who leave richer.
For those with large yards—and large budgets—the Power King Commercial Chipper Shredder Kit is a heavy-duty model that can tackle even the toughest jobs. This tool is powered by a 14 HP Kohler engine with a maximum output of 3,600 RPM, and it can handle branches up to 5.75 inches in diameter. It offers a large feed chute and 360-degree spout for increased control, and it cuts debris down to a tenth of its original size.
This kit includes an extended wheelbase, removable tow bar, replacement blade set, and safety gear. The Power King Chipper Shredder is incredibly heavy-duty, according to reviewers, and it’s made from solid, durable materials that will stand the test of time. All in all, it’s the perfect option for those with several acres of land to maintain, as it can handle large pieces of debris with ease.
The best chipper shredder for you depends on a couple of factors including the size of your yard/jobs and what power source you’d like to use. Our top pick goes to the Brush Master 11 HP 270cc Commercial Duty Chipper Shredder (view on Home Depot) which is capable of turning 12 bags of yard waste into a single bag of chips. If budget is a concern, we also love the Martha Stewart MTS-EWC15 Self-Feeding Electric Wood Chipper (view on Walmart) which is electric powered and highly portable thanks to its wheeled design.
Power source Chipper shredders are commonly powered by gas or electricity. Electric chippers are low-maintenance machines that are perfect for light cleanup—and they’re more environmentally friendly, to boot. Gas machines, on the other hand, are typically more powerful and aren’t limited by a cord, but they require more maintenance.
Capacity As you shop, you’ll notice chipper shredders have a “capacity,” which signifies the largest branch diameter the machine can handle. If you’re looking for a chipper just to clean up twigs, you’ll be fine with a low-capacity machine. However, if you want to chip thick branches, you’ll need to spend more on a more professional model.
Vacuum capabilities If you want to save yourself some work, you may want to look for a chipper shredder that has vacuum capabilities. This style of machine resembles a push lawn mower—it sucks up, chips and bags twigs, leaves, and debris as you navigate it around your lawn. However, these models can’t handle larger branches.