INKTOBER: 2018 - Flowers of Bangalore

Inktober is a month long art challenge started by Utah based illustrator Jake Parker, wherein every day for the month of October, a participating artist creates an ink drawing and posts it online. This year, I'm doing a series on the flowers of Bangalore wherein I draw 31 different flowers found (not necessarily native) in Bangalore, in my own stylized way. This blog post serves to be an archive for all those 31 drawings.

Each drawing is accompanied by a short description and some key vitals written by Mr. Karthikeyan Srinivasan[1]. They’re being taken, with permission, from his blog,

Here goes...

Day 01. Frangipani

Common name: Frangipani, temple tree, pagoda tree
Vernacular name: Kaadusampige
Origin: West Indies, Mexico
Flowering season: February to October

There are 2 species of temple trees that are met with often. The red frangipani plumeria rubra which is a somewhat odd-looking tree while the white frangipani plumeria alba is the more handsome. Both are of small stature; the former being deciduous and the latter evergreen. They both have leaves that are thick. The leaves and the stem exude a white milky substance when injured. Both, the red and the white frangipanis, bear fragrant flowers in clusters at the tips of their branches. These trees are planted in gardens and parks and often used in landscaping. Frangipani is known to possess a poisonous, milky sap, rather similar to that of the Euphorbia.

Day 02. Water lily

Common name: Water lily
Vernacular name: -
Origin: -
Flowering season: -

Day 03. Flame of the forest

Common name: Flame of the forest
Vernacular name: Muttuga
Origin: India, Burma
Flowering season: January to March

This tree when in bloom is indeed a sight to behold, particularly so when the forest around it is dry and most trees bereft of leaves. The flame of the forest too, like many other trees that share the habitat sheds most of its leaves before putting forth the bright, yet pleasing, orange flowers arranged that are placed in clusters on its branches. The flowers are visited by a host of organisms – birds and butterflies. An early morning birding session in the vicinity of this tree during its flowering season is rarely disappointing. It can be propagated from seeds. In Bangalore there are very few of these trees including a couple in Lalbagh.

Day 04. Common bur-flower

Common name : Common bur-flower
Vernacular name: Kadamba
Origin: India, China, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam
Flowering season: October to July

This tree has large leaves arranged loosely and therefore not forming a dense canopy. The tree grows large with spreading branches and is unfit for planting in small spaces. However, it is ideally suited for large parks, gardens and campuses. The flowers somewhat resemble the badminton ball tree. This tree has been planted as an avenue tree in some parts of Bangalore. The commander limenitis procris butterfly uses this as their larval host plant.

Day 05. Red silk cotton

Common name: Red silk cotton
Vernacular Name: Booruga
Origin: India and Malaya
Flowering season: January to March

The tree is a blaze of colour and completely leafless when in bloom. The numerous, large, cup-shaped, crimson flowers are very attractive. The flowers attract a variety of birds and there is a cacophony of bird calls. Depending on where the tree grows the birds that visit the flowers also vary. Soon after, large green fruits dangle from the tree which turn brown ejecting the soft cotton attached to the seeds. This is an indigenous, fast growing tree and grows in most areas except in the very arid areas. Virtually every part of the tree is known to have medicinal value.

There are trees in Lalbagh (near West Gate and near the Rose Garden), Banashankari second stage and other areas. I have personally enjoyed observing birds near these trees in forested areas (particularly Anamalais). White-bellied treepie, hill myna, parakeets, drongos, orioles, thrushes, babblers, blackbirds and a whole lot more can be seen to the accompaniment of their cacophony. The next time you happen to be in the jungles during the flowering season of this tree, just try your luck.

Day 6. Women's tongue flower

Common name: Woman’s tongue tree
Vernacular name: Baage
Origin: Tropical Africa, Asia and Northern Australia
Flowering season: April to May

This tree is particularly noticeable after the flowering is over and the tree bears the large, light brown flat pods. The pods hanging in good numbers on the tree can be seen during the winter months. These make a loud rustling noise when subject to even a gentle breeze giving the tree its common name. The greenish white flowers of this tree are very pretty, reminiscent of the Rain Tree; they also have a mild fragrance. The tree can be easily propagated by seed. Species of Grassy Ellie Eurema butterflies use this as their larval host plant.

Day 7. Siam Cassia

Common name: Siam Cassia
Vernacular name: None
Origin: Malaya
Flowering season: Most part of the year

This species is planted as an ornamental and well suited for gardens and parks as it is not a very large tree. The yellow flowers and pods are borne in clusters. Pods are flat and occur simultaneously with the flowers. Parakeets can be seen feeding on the seeds by evicting them from the flat pods. It does very well even in hot, arid conditions and hence of great use in afforesting hot arid areas. This fast growing, evergreen species can be propagated from seed. The larvae of the emigrant butterfly (catopsilia species) feed on the leaves of this species.

Day 08. Variegated bauhinia

Common name: Variegated Bauhinia, Purple Bauhinia
Vernacular name: Basavanapaada
Origin: India
Flowering season: February to April and June to October

Bauhinia variegata and bauhinia purpurea are very similar looking trees. It is very difficult to tell them apart. The former has very pale pink or white coloured flowers with the some petals variegated while the flowers of the latter are pink to purple. Like in all bauhinias the leaves are split in the middle which is very characteristic. Both the species considered here are indigenous. Bauhinia purpurea comes into flower when in leaf while bauhinia variegata looses most of its leaves when in flower. The trees bear long flat pods which hang and are conspicuous.

One can see these trees in Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Indiranagar, Ring Road (near Banaswadi) and other areas.

Day 09. Champak

Common name: Champak
Vernacular name: Sampige
Origin: South Asia and Southeast Asia
Flowering season: May to December

This evergreen tree does not need any introduction. It is largely cultivated for its fragrant flowers. It is very well known to people as they use its flowers for religious ceremonies. Frequently planted in the vicinity of temples, it is considered sacred. The tree requires moderate amount of sunlight and does well in moist climate. This tree has reasonably dense foliage and can grow very large. The common jay graphium doson butterfly uses the leaves of this tree as its larval host plant.

Day 10. Pink poui

Common name: Pink Poui
Vernacular name: -
Origin: Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador
Flowering season: February-March

A marvellous tree indeed ! It grows large and is very leafy. It provides ample shade when in leaf. Leafs resemble the silk cotton leaves and borne on branches that grow at an angle to the main trunk and seem to reach out to the sky (this feature can be used well to differentiate the T. rosea from a very similar species T. pallida – some botanists can comment on this). Like many flowering trees, it is almost leafless when in bloom. The pale pink flowers grow in clusters similar to the other Tabebuias. It is undoubtedly a splendid tree when in bloom. Ideal for parks and gardens where it can be allowed to grow without being subjected to lopping. 
Some large trees of this species can be in Cubbon Park, Lalbagh, near National College, Basavangudi, all around Jayanagar 4th Block shopping complex and near the GPO.

Day 11. Cannon ball flower

Common name: Cannon Ball Tree
Vernacular name: Nagalingam
Origin: Tropical South America and West Indies
Flowering season: Throughout the year

A truly amazing tree. The tree does not grow branches that reach out from the straight trunk. It bears large, showy flowers, almost through the year, on the trunk and not on branches like most other trees. Though a native of tropical South America, it is considered sacred in India (the structure of the flower is likened to the 'Shiva linga’, complete with the snake providing shade). The tree also produces globular, brown, woody fruits of an astonishing size, almost the size of a human head! There is also a strong albeit pleasant smell.
A tree in Cubbon Park (near the counter where tickets are issued for boating) is truly spectacular. There are also trees in Lalbagh, on Infantry Road (near Gem Plaza) and other parts of the city.

Day 12.  Portia tree flower

Common name: Portia tree or Bhendi tree
Vernacular name: Huvarasi
Origin: Coastal forests of India and Burma; tropical Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands
Flowering season: Almost throughout the year peaking during winter

Often planted as a roadside tree; particularly common in Tamil Nadu. The Portia tree is a tree that grows to about 30-40 feet in height. Leaves are broad and somewhat reminiscent of the leaves of the Peepul and are heart shaped with prominent veins. The tree, being a relative of the Hibiscus, has flowers similar to it too. They are large crumpled looking flowers with an exterior yellow colour and a deep reddish centre. The flowers turn reddish as they age. The fruit is a capsule with a rounded shape, somewhat like a top.

The tree is propagated from cuttings and is known to grow rapidly. It is also easily grown from seed. 

Day 13. Jamun flower

Common name: Jamun or Java Plum
Vernacular name: Nerale mara
Origin: India, Burma, Ceylon and the Andaman Islands
Flowering season: February to May

Many city folk, perhaps, would have eaten the fruits of this tree without knowing what the tree looks like. This is a large evergreen tree. Being a native, it can support a lot of life. When the tree puts forth its small whitish flowers, bees are attracted to it. Besides, being a tree with dense foliage it can also support a good number of birds like the barbets, mynahs, and a whole lot of others even in the urban area. The fruits are green when raw and turn deep blackish purple when ripe; fruits have a layer of pulp over a large single seed and are edible.

Day 14.  Ashoka flower

Common name: Ashoka Tree
Vernacular name: Ashoka
Origin: India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Malayasia
Flowering season: Throughout the year; mainly November – March

This is a small sized evergreen tree with spreading branches and a dense foliage of medium sized leaves. If planted in an open area, it assumes a well proportioned, round canopy. The flowers are borne on dry branches in dense clusters that are orange-red that deepens as they age. The tree looks particularly attractive when in bloom. This tree is also associated with mythology. Besides, it is attributed with a lot of medicinal properties. It is propagated by seeds.

Day 15. Jacaranda

Common name: Jacaranda
Vernacular name: None
Origin: Brazil
Flowering season: February to March

Jacaranda is a very beautiful tree and spectacular when in flower. It attains a large size. The tree has a canopy consisting of fine, feathery leaves due to which it has a great ornamental value. The leaves are lost during winter and the bunches of flowers grow when the tree is leafless. The flowers are mauve coloured and tubular. The seeds are enclosed in a round, woody capsule. They hang from the tree for a long time before dropping off. There is flush even when the tree is in bloom. There are many trees that are coming into bloom in the city.

Day 16.  Paarijata

Common name: Parijata, Coral Jasmine, Night-flowering Jasmine
Vernacular name: Parijaata
Origin: South-east Asia
Flowering season: August to December

This small-sized tree blooms in the night and by day break sheds its flowers. As should be expected, it is pollinated by insects that are active in the night. The Paarijaata, known as the Coral Jasmine, is also botanically referred to as Nyctanthes arbor-tristis which literally means ‘night-flowering sad tree’. This name perhaps comes from one of the many myths about this tree. This native tree also has a lot of medicinal value. Extracts from the tree are used to cure inflammation, fever, skin ailments to name a few. You may do well to read about these before you are headed to Kabini next. And, while there don’t forget to take a walk to befriend the ‘night flowering sad tree’ and soak in its company. 

Day 17. Copper pod

Common name: Copper pod
Vernacular name: Haladi Gulmohur
Origin: Ceylon, Andamans, Malaya and North Australia
Flowering season: March – September

The Copper pod is considered to be a semi-evergreen tree. It is seldom leafless though it sheds leaves en masse during the winter months for a very brief period. The name `Copper Pod’ comes from the coppery-red seed cases that are seen in profusion (they turn black with age). A species which is easy to propagate, hardy, and can survive in harsh conditions. A pretty sight when in bloom. It bears clusters of yellow flowers at the end of the branches, together with dark green leaves. The ground under the tree is strewn with a carpet of the yellow petals and is sight to behold. The tree is large and very shapely. These trees are in the park flanking Nanda Road (continuation of RV road) from South End to Jayanagar and several other areas of Bangalore.

Day 18. Peacock flower

Common name : Dwarf poinciana, Peacock flower
Vernacular name: Kenjige
Origin: Americas, West Indies
Flowering season: Perennial

This is a very popular ornamental plant. It is grown in a variety of situations for its beautiful inflorescence and to add colour. The flowers grow in a large conical inflorescence and are usually orange/red and varying amounts of yellow or at times just yellow.

Day 19. Bird of paradise

Common name : Crane flower, Bird of paradise
Vernacular name: None
Origin: South Africa
Flowering season: September to May

This native of South Africa is brightly coloured and very pretty. Often these are brought indoors as cut flowers and are used in flower arrangements. The bright colours and the long lasting nature has helped the plant find favour with horticulturists and the cult flower industry.

Day 20. Gliricidia

Common name: Gliricidia, Mother of Cocoa, Quick stick (Jamaica)
Vernacular name: Gobbarada mara
Origin: Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America
Flowering season: February-April

A small, deciduous, ornamental tree, planted in gardens and fields as a green manure tree. The tree is leafless when in flower and bears fruits during April and May. The small flowers (barely 2 cm long) are pale pink and they are borne in dense clusters on bare twigs. Flowers fade to white / faint purple with age. It can be used as an ornamental. The flowers attract a lot of bees and some lycaenid (blues-family lycaenidae) butterflies – particularly the peablue lampides boeticus. There are several of these trees in Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, other gardens and a few along roadsides.

Day 21. Zinnia

Common name: Zinnia, Common zinnia
Vernacular name:
Origin: Mexico
Flowering season: August-September 

Day 22. Indian cork tree

Common name: Indian cork tree, tree jasmine
Vernacular name: Beratu
Origin: India
Flowering season: April-June, November-December 

  Day 23. Canna

Common name: Frangipani, temple tree, pagoda tree
Vernacular name: Keli
Origin: South America
Flowering season: March-June

Day 24. Torenia

Common name: Indian fishbone flower, heart leaf torenia
Vernacular name: -
Origin: India, Burma, China
Flowering season: September-November

Day 25. Euphorbia mili

Common name: Giant crown of thorns
Vernacular name: -
Origin: Madagascar
Flowering season: February-June

Day 26. Bougainvillea

Common name: Boganvila
Vernacular name: Boganvilla
Origin: Brazil
Flowering season: Perennial

Day 27. Hibiscus

Common name: Hibiscus, China-rose
Vernacular name: Dasavala
Origin: China
Flowering season: Perennial

Day 28. Marigold 

Common name: Boganvila
Vernacular name: Boganvilla
Origin: Brazil
Flowering season: Perennial

Day 29. Dianthus 

Day 30. Black bean

Day 31. African tulip tree



[1] Karthikeyan Srinivasan, or just Karthik, is a naturalist, a conservationist and a photographer. He holds a key interest in plants, birds and butterflies. He has over 50 technical publications in international/national journals & periodicals and over 85 popular articles in leading dailies, magazines and other periodicals. Prior to joining Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd. as their Chief Naturalist, he was working with WWF-India for over 13 years. He was conferred the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award in March, 2013.

Purchase Karthik's book, Discover Avenue Trees, at



Thank you everyone else for your continued love and support. It means a lot! 


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