Flame of the Forest/ Bastard Teak/ Dhak/ Keshu (Butea monosperma) is a slow growing medium sized dry deciduous tree with a crooked trunk and twisted irregular branches.
The leaves are pinnately compound with three leaflets. The hindi phrase ‘Dhak ke teen paat’ originates from the three leaves of dhak tree that were sewn together to make cups for community feasts. The phrase refers to a labour that produces something of inconsequential value.
From April to May the tree is ‘aflame’ with bright orange-red flowers that cover the entire crown. The overall beak like shape of its scentless flower gives it its alternate name of ‘Parrot Tree’.
Its also known as the Palash tree and Palashi, a hamlet in Bengal that is famous for the Battle of Plassey of 1757, gets its name from it.