Pride of Burma (Amherstia nobilis)

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Pride of Burma mature plant in flower
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Pride of Burma fact file

Pride of Burma description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderFabales
FamilyLeguminosae (1)
GenusAmherstia

A stunning tree, the pride of Burma is the only member of the genus Amherstia (3). The extravagant flowers are seen hanging from the long inflorescence, or flower stalk, which is bright crimson red at the end (2). There are five petals, although two of these are minute and the rest are of unequal size. The petals are also crimson; the two medium sized petals are yellow at the tip and the largest petal is broad and fan-shaped with a wavy upper margin and a yellow triangle of colour extending from the lip down into the flower (3). This large petal may be 7.5 centimetres long and over 4 centimetres wide at the end (2). There are either nine or ten stamens, nine of which are partially fused into a pink sheath; the stamens are of two differing lengths with the longer ones having larger anthers (3).

The compound leaves bear six to eight large leaflets; these are broadly oblong in shape and are a whitish colour underneath (2). The fruits, or seedpods, are 11 to 20 centimetres long (4). They are roughly scimitar-shaped and the woody outer case opens to disperse the seeds (3).

Size
Height: 9 - 12 m (2)
Inflorescence: up to 60 cm long (2)
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Pride of Burma biology

The pride of Burma is evergreen, meaning it retains its leaves year round. Flowering occurs from January to February (3).

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Pride of Burma range

Endemic to Burma in Southeast Asia, the pride of Burma is often cultivated as an ornamental for its extremely showy flowers (2).

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Pride of Burma habitat

The pride of Burma is found in dry, evergreen forests (3).

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Pride of Burma status

The pride of Burma has not yet been classified by the IUCN.

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Pride of Burma threats

This species was once relatively common in its native Burma (3); however, the current distribution and threats to its survival are unknown.

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Pride of Burma conservation

The pride of Burma persists in cultivation, where it is widely grown as an ornamental (2).

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Authentication

Authenticated (6/5/03) by Gwilym Lewis. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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Glossary

Anther
Part of the stamen (the male reproductive organ of a flower) that produces pollen. (See http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/pdfs/flower.pdf for a fact sheet on flower structure)
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of the plant, which bears flowers (See http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/pdfs/flower.pdf for a fact sheet on flower structure)
Leaflets
The individual 'leaf-like' parts of a compound leaf.
Stamens
The male reproductive organ of a flower, it is made up of an anther (the pollen-producing organ) and a filament (stalk). (See http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/pdfs/flower.pdf for a fact sheet on flower structure).
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2003)
    http://www.redlist.org
  2. Verdcourt, B. (1979) A Manual of New Guinea Legumes. Botany Bulletin No.11. Office of Forests, Papua New Guinea.
  3. Smitiand, T. and Larsen, K. (Eds.) (1984) Flora of Thailand, Vol. 4(1). The Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department, Bangkok.
  4. Hou, D., Larsen, K. and Larsen, S.S. (1996) Caesalpiniaceae. In: Flora Malesiana, 12(2): 717-718.
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Image credit

Pride of Burma mature plant in flower  
Pride of Burma mature plant in flower

© Deni Bown / gettyimages.com

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