Golden Champaca – Magnolia champaca
The golden-orange flowers of Son chafa (Son Champa, Swarn Champa, champak, or chamapaca) have an olfactory appeal second to none. These flowers are often sold on the roadside as a car or room freshener or made into small garlands that can be worn on a bun. They are often cultivated for agarbattis and perfumes. Most importantly, they are used as offerings for the deities in Hindu temples. Thus, Golden Champaca has high socio-cultural importance.
The Sonchafa or Swarn Champa flowers are borne on a large to medium-sized tree. This evergreen tree, with its fast rate of growth, suitability for wet and humid conditions, nativity to the Indian sub-continent, and finally, these gorgeous flowers, ticks all the boxes for that one must-have plant in your garden or farmland. It can also be used as an attractive avenue tree and a primary species for eco-restoration. It can even be grown in pots for balconies receiving sunlight. The flowers of the champak tree are very attractive for butterflies and hummingbirds. Their aril-covered fruit rope in a lot of birds, too. Even when the son chafa tree is not flowering, it has a beautiful crown of wavy green leaves and looks very attractive.
The timber of the son chafa tree is also good for timber and it is sometimes grown for that. Its leaves can be used as fodder, and the tree is also a source of folk medicine and anti-fungal compounds.
The Champaca tree can be grown from seeds or grafted cuttings. Seeds, if stored for a month or so, lose moisture and fail to germinate. Hormonal treatment increases the seed germination rate. Being a tree, it needs full sun, regular watering, and leaf litter manure.
Fun Fact –
Magnolia alba is a hybrid variety of champak trees that bears white flowers.