Adilabad: The value of certain trees like the modugu, also known as flame of the forest (Butea Monosperma) or palash, come into focus during the summer season. Most trees lose their leaves in the summer, but this particular tree goes into full bloom – a sight to behold.
The flowers, which usually start appearing in February and last till the end of April, are a source of food for birds in their lean season. Thousands of modugu trees can be found scattered over the undulating terrain of undivided Adilabad district, especially on the side of roads and near the Maharashtra border.
Modugu trees are usually used for timber, resin, fodder and medicine. Spoons and ladles made of this tree are used in various Hindu rituals to pour ghee into the fire. The leaves are usually very leathery and not eaten by cattle.
Tender leaves of the tree are generally used to stitch leaf-plates in the countryside. However, with the advent of plastic or paper plates, the demand for the leaf-plates has come down drastically. Apart from this, tribals extract colours like red and orange from the flowers and use it for the festival of Holi.
They still prefer using natural colours instead of artificial ones. In parts of the district, the culture of preparation of natural colours is still alive. The colours are used in dry and wet forms and can also be used for herbal treatments, said tribal organisation leader Siddam Vaman Rao.
The preparation of the colour is very simple. The flowers are dried for two days, after which it is made into powder. Later, it is mixed with water to bring out the reddish-orange hue.