Jayanthi D
Department of Botany, Mount Carmel College, Autonomous, No. 58, Palace Road, Bangalore 560052, Karnataka, India.


Spathodea is a monotypic genus in the flowering plant family Bignoniaceae. The single species, Spathodea campanulata, is commonly known as the Fountain Tree, African Tulip Tree Pichkari or Nandi Flame., The flower bud is ampule-shaped, contains watery liquid and called Water calyx. Water calyces may be present for the protection of floral buds from floral herbivores. Water calyces were first described in Spathodea campanulata over 100 years ago by Treub in 1889 .Water calyces hold and often secrete liquid, causing buds to develop under an aqueous or mucilaginous mixture. In 1890, in the Annales of the Botanic Garden of Buitenzorg, in a paper on the flower buds of Spathodea campanulata, Dr. Treub mentions the fact that various bacteria occur normally in the liquid secreted inside the closed calyx and partially gave the chemical composition of the fluid and reported that it is ammoniacal. In the present work, chemical composition of the fluid from water calyces of Spathodea campanulata with respect to Starch, Reducing sugars, Amino acids, Ammonia, Phenols, pH was analysed by routine methods and occurrence of bacteria by microscopic observations, isolation and culturing on Nitrogen free media was carried out. Results reveal that the pH is 9 and fluid contains trace amount of reducing sugars, phenols, amino acids and large amount of ammonia. The presence of few motile, many capsulated, gram-negative bacilli was recorded microscopically and isolation trials resulted in a thin pellicle forming bacteria on nitrogen free semi solid (NFb) medium at pH 9, which produced yellow colonies on nitrogen free malate agar medium supplemented with yeast extract turning the media alkaline. The role of the fluid present in the calyx and the bacteria is discussed as an indication to a primitive symbiosis.