View Full Version : The Raining tree

08-04-2006, 09:30 PM
I am curous to know if anyone can identify a tree from this description, as I do not have a photo.
It was seen in someone's yard here in southern California, and they told my daughter that it was a "raintree" and that it was from India. She did not find any pictures that looked similar on the web. She reports that the tree continually gave off little droplets of (?)water and that when she stood under the tree's canopy she could feel the "raindrops" on her.
I cannot find the location of the tree itself due to the fact that the nanny with whom she took these nature walks has since lost touch with us.
I didn't remember about this tree until a friend at a party recently was regaling us with tales of his son's camping trip and mentioned how they found a "raining tree". I mentioned that my daughter had mentioned the same kind of thing to me and everyone was very eager to know where they might see such a tree.
If anyone might know what kind of tree this is I would be much obliged.
Thank you!

08-04-2006, 10:29 PM
Here is a story of a dripping tree I found:
Also I've read that some poplars can drip a little bit every once in a while.

The Dripping Tree of Ng

The Dripping Tree of Ng is a small, dull, and largely unremarkable tree which can be found in various forests around Battal (how the Dripping Tree got the last part of its name is unknown, as there is no such place as Ng).
On occasion, it produces a thin sap, which drips from its branches and congeals at the bottom of the tree, covering the area around the tree with a blotchy, foul-smelling film. This film serves no unique purpose - the more boring tribes of the Dim Elves occasionally collect it to put on their toast.

The fruit of the Dripping Tree is a nut known as the Soul Walnut which is apparently virtually uncrackable, and therefore the delicious innards are both highly sought and highly prized, and yet an uncracked Soul Walnut is considered all but useless.

I've read about bugs making it also:

‘Raining tree’ inspected
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 24 — After the report on a 'raining tree' in Chhat bir Zoological Park appeared in Chandigarh Tribune, the Director of the park, Dr Vinod Sharma, invited a team of senior entomologists from Panjab University for a critical inspection of the tree under reference. The team, comprising Dr H.R. Pajni and Dr P.K. Tewari, found that four trees of erythrina indica were severely attacked by the young ones (nymphs) of a small bug of the family amphrophoridae, belonging to super family cercopoidea of sub-order homoptera.

The nymphs prepare a mass of froth around their bodies while feeding on the host plant. The froth, commonly referred to as 'cuckoo-spit', is prepared from a material produced in the anterior parts of malphighian tubules (excretory organs of insects), from where it is pushed into the hindgut and ejected through the anal aperture.

Another secretion is added from the glands on the abdomen. Air is gushed into this mixture from a cavity on the underside of the abdomen, into which open the spiracles or air tubes of the insect. In this manner, the mixture is converted into a mass of bubbles surrounding one or more nymphs.

the foam-like mass of bubbles perhaps serves to protect the nymphs from heat and desiccation and also from their predators such as wasps, ants and birds. The curious protective behaviour has given this bug the common name of 'cuckoo-spit' or 'spittler'.

In the case of severe attack, when thousands of nymphs inhabit the foliage of the tree, the coalescence of air bubbles results in collection of liquid, which drops in the form of a fine drizzle. Hence the raining property of the attacked tree, the entomologists said.

They further said the adults laid batches of eggs in the axils of the leaves, which hatched in May or early June. The nymphs took about 10 weeks to develop into mature adults.

The adults laid eggs in September or October, which remained in diapause till May or June, after which the cycle was repeated. Occasionally seen forming froth on grasses and wild bushes, severe attack on a tall tree was observed for the first time, they added.

08-05-2006, 06:43 AM
Um, treeman, you do realize that your first quote is from a realmworld fantasy series ("The Elementsor Saga")? I got a bit suspicious when it mentioned elves. :lol:

Some trees (like some in the poplar and willow family, as treeman said) do have extrafloral nectary glands, but I don't know if any produce a quantity that could be described as "rain."

I suspect the latter example to be the case... some species of trees are especially prone to infestation by sucking insects (like aphids, scales, or spittlebugs) that constantly secrete honeydew as they feed. Never park under a Tilia in Great Britain (linden or "lime" tree, as they call it there), for example.

08-05-2006, 06:53 AM
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.

Raining Tree (The).

The Til, a linden-tree of the Canaries, mentioned by a host of persons. Mandelolo describes it minutely, and tells us that the water which falls from this tree suffices for a plentiful supply for men and beasts of the whole island of Fierro, which contains no river. Glas assures us that “the existence of such a tree is firmly believed in the Canaries” (History of the Canary Islands). Cordeyro (Historia Insulana, book ii. chap. v.) says it is an emblem of the Trinity, and that the rain is called Agua Santa. Without doubt a rain falls from some trees (as the lime) in hot weather.

and not to forget:
The Rain tree is the Ntional Tree of Venezuela

..... but it is not dripping, unless it has rained


08-05-2006, 07:05 AM
Yeah, and golden raintree (or flametree) is a common name given to a couple of species of Koelreuteria, which are commonly planted (and invasive) in the southeast US. I would suspect that the tree you saw there in SoCal was Koelreuteria paniculata, which is also sometimes called "Pride of India." It doesn't drip particularly much here, but perhaps there's a sucking insect in its native range that prefers it.

08-05-2006, 07:19 AM
The internet is full of Raining Tree-stories:

In front of the tree were numerous Balinese people, which prayed towards a tree in their traditional clothes, which consists a sarong (sort of long skirt), shirt, a belt and a hat. The tree was decorated with bands in different colors, which had all their religious meanings, the air was fulfilled with the smell of incense sticks, which burned everywhere.
After a group in front of us, finished their prayers, our group sat down in front of the tree. Everyone got incense sticks and numerous flowers in different colors, which had in each case another meaning. My neighbor showed me, how I should hold the flowers between my hands, and which color I should take. A group of women determined the color of the flower, which was then afterwards changed by its singing.
First I didn’t noticed anything but suddenly I felt a light drizzle on my skin, partly even big drops!
After we finished praying, I had a closer look to the phenomenon, it actually rained in the entire periphery of the tree, the outside area was dry to the bone and in the sky I couldn’t see any clouds. At the end of the ceremony, everyone got a small bag with the holy water, which was caught in big tarps under the tree. The water was not colored, but nevertheless, I was heavily impressed by the things I saw this night and till today I can’t explain them!