Raintree - Geography
Raintree - Characteristics
Raintree is a wide-canopied tree with a large symmetrical crown. It usually reaches a height of 25 m (82 ft) and a diameter of 40 m. The leaves fold in rainy weather and in the evening, hence the name "rain tree" and "five o'clock tree" (Pukul Lima) in Malay. Several lineages of this tree are available, e.g., with reddish pink and creamish golden colored flowers.
A giant specimen near Kanchanaburi, Thailand, known locally as chamchuri-yak (จามจุรียักษ์). "Chamchuri" is the Thai name of the tree species, whereas "yak" is the Thai pronunciation of yaksha, a mythical demon, referring in this context to the monstrous size of the tree.
During his 1799–1804 travels in the Americas, Alexander von Humboldt encountered a giant saman tree near Maracay, Venezuela. He measured the circumference of the parasol-shaped crown at 576 ft (about 180.8 m, its diameter was around 190 ft (about 59.6 m), on a trunk at 9 ft (about 2.8 m) in diameter and reaching just 60 ft (nearly 19 m) in height. Humboldt mentioned the tree was reported to have changed little since the Spanish colonization of Venezuela; he estimated it to be as old as the famous Canary Islands dragon tree (Dracaena draco) of Icod de los Vinos on Tenerife.
The tree, called Samán de Güere (transcribed Zamang del Guayre by von Humboldt) still stands today, and is a Venezuelan national treasure. Just like the dragon tree on Tenerife, the age of the saman in Venezuela is rather indeterminate. As von Humboldt's report makes clear, according to local tradition, it would be older than 500 years today, which is rather outstanding by the genus' standards. It is certain, however, the tree is quite more than 200 years old today, but it is one exceptional individual; even the well-learned von Humboldt could not believe it was actually the same species as the saman trees he knew from the greenhouses at Schönbrunn Castle. A famous specimen called the "Brahmaputra Rain Tree" located at Guwahati on the banks of the Brahmaputra River in Assam, India has the thickest trunk of any Saman; approximately twelve feet (3.66 meters) diameter at breast height (DBH).