Come February and March each year, various streets in Alor Setar are brightened up by colourful tecoma flowers that create a picturesque scene.
The tecoma tree, known locally as pokok kertas tisu (Bahasa Malaysia for tissue paper tree), blooms twice a year.
Locals believe that when the flowers start to fall, it marks the end of the dry season.
Take a drive along Jalan Langgar, Jalan Kuala Kedah and Jalan Gangsa, and you will find the tecoma (Tabebuia rosea) trees in bright pink, yellow and white on both sides of the road.
Motorists plying the North-South Expressway can also see the blooms along the way from the Hutan Kampung toll plaza to the Alor Setar South toll plaza.
The Alor Setar City Council has been planting these trees since 15 years ago to beautify the city landscape.
When in bloom, the trees would be fully covered with flowers with few or no leaves, and the fallen withered flowers turn the streets and pavements into a bright and colourful carpet.
“If Japan has its sakura tree, Kedah has the tecoma tree. If more tecoma trees were planted in the city, it would create a new attraction for tourists,” said trader Ali Ismail, 60, who sells nasi lemak at Jalan Langgar.
According to Wikipedia, Tabebuia is a neotropical genus of about 100 species in the tribe Tecomeae of the family Bignoniaceae.
Alor Setar mayor Datuk Khazali Din said the council would be planting more tecoma trees in other parts of the city, including the Golden Jubilee Park and other parks, as part of its beautification project to create a new look for the city.
“The trees suit the state’s climate as we have a long dry season,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Khazali added that the tecoma tree would take about five to six years to bloom and when fully matured at age 10, the tree would be in full bloom with no leaves. - By Embun Majid, Photos by G. C. Tan