Saraca dives Pierre, Fl. Forest. Cochinch. t. 386 B. (1898)

Name meaning 'abundant', referring to the abundance of flowers.

Saraca chinensis Merr. & Chun
Saraca indica auct. non L.

Trees, 5-20 m tall. Trunk ca. 25 cm d.b.h. Petiolules 7-12 mm; leaflets 5 or 6 pairs, slightly purplish red when young, pendulous, narrowly elliptic, ovate-lanceolate, or narrowly obovate, 15-35 5-12 cm, subleathery, lateral veins 8-11 pairs, lowest pair often smaller, base cuneate, apex acuminate, acute, or obtuse. Inflorescence axillary, larger; rachis hairy or glabrous; involucre caducous, broadly ovate, large, hairy; bracts caducous or late deciduous, ovate, lanceolate, or oblong, 1.5-5 0.6-2 cm, lowest one largest, gradually smaller upward, hairy or glabrous; bracteoles equal to bracts in shape but much smaller. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, yellow, base of calyx lobes, disk, stamens, and style becoming red; pedicels shorter than calyx tube, not articulate. Calyx tube 1.5-3 cm; lobes 4(-6), oblong, ciliate. Stamens 8-10 including 1 or 2 often reduced to subulate; filaments exserted; anthers oblong, 3-4 mm. Ovary slightly curved, glabrous or hairy along sutures and stalk. Legume brownish, compressed, 22-30 5-7 cm, valves twisted. Seeds 5-9, unequal in shape, shallowly depressed sulcate at middle of both surfaces. [from Flora of China]

Dense or sparse forests, riversides, along valleys, by streams; 200-1000 m.

This is a fine parasitifer plant, which can be used for breeding lac insects. The bark is used medicinally for relieving rheumatism and menorrhagia. The flowers are large and showy, and the trees are often cultivated ornamentally. According to legend, the Queen of the Jiapiluowei Kingdom (2500 years before today), gave birth to Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, under this tree. No wonder this tree was treasured sacred by Buddhists although it can not often be found nowadays anymore. The color of its golden-orange flowers is copied in the Buddhist monks cloth.

Southern China, Laos and Vietnam.

Local names
China: Zhong guo wu you hua.
English: Flame flower, Sorrowless tree.