Goodbye summer, hello fire trees!

firetree-closeup1As much as I love summer, I love it more when it draws to a close. Besides the end to the scorching temperature in this side of the equator, it also means fire tree season!

Fire trees (or flame trees, Delonix regia) is a flowering tree that grows in many tropical parts of the world, like the Philippines. Truth be told, I only began to notice it and its bright red-orange blooms when I was in college, where the university I attended and the other university I would pass by in my commute from Manila to Quezon City, both had these trees in relative abundance. By the time school would start in June, they would already be proudly displaying their cheery color amidst a blanket of green.

The same month though is also the start of the rainy season, and those bright blooms find themselves scattered on the ground not for long. But for a few weeks, we get to see them put a delightful display. And it never fails to make me smile.

Once, I wondered out loud why people didn’t plant more of them in the city, line streets with them. Just imagine how pretty it would be! A friend who grew up in a farm then told me that they are notorious for harboring higad (those itchy, hairy caterpillars) and fire ants. She had an unpleasant experience with them and obviously didn’t share my enthusiasm for fire trees. I guess any visions of hanami-like (cherry blossom viewing) activities were out of the question.

But potential higad-infestation notwithstanding, I still try to go out of my way to look at fire trees. Years ago in UP Diliman, I once chanced upon A. Roces Street when its fire trees were almost all abloom. It was late in the afternoon, the street was almost empty, and there were these trees just putting a sort of  bright, happy punctuation to an ordinary day.

I took a stroll down there again last Sunday. The fire trees had not yet all bloomed (or maybe they had and I missed them) but I still saw some of the flowers clinging to their branches.

Along A. Roces...

Bikers along A. Roces Street and under a fire tree


Keep blooming, you can do it! Imagine when more of them are bright red orange

Heading out... along University Ave

Heading out, along University Ave


Bye, fire tree, until next year


16 thoughts on “Goodbye summer, hello fire trees!

  1. I know what you mean! I love those fire trees–and how nice would it be if we had our own version of hanami nga? I didn’t know about the higad though–no wonder we don’t have more of these lovelies! 😀

  2. Higad and fire trees — that’s always summer for me too. I remember summer when I was a tomboy and was always running around getting “higad”ed, hahaha! Spent a lot of time under trees and in them, you see.

    I miss UP from these photos! And I thought of my dad, too! I learned about fire trees from him. He wanted several in front of our house. Don’t know if he was really serious about it though, because we never got the fire trees, haha! Did not know that they were higad-friendly! I always thought higads were seasonal and would just occupy any tree available… OK, enough rambling. You got me thinking of endless summers when I was a kid! Nice post, Mabes!

  3. I love fire trees! reminds me of home 😀 There are a lot of fire trees along the Laguna highway too…along the way to Paete from Antipolo. 😀

  4. I worked on a book on the Ilongot indigenous group, which was warrior group up north and had a headhunting tradition. The blooming of the fire trees were supposed to signal the start of the headhunting season!

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