Neolamarckia cadamba is a deciduous tree found in broadleaf forests and streamside valley habitats across China, India and southeast Asia. Also known as common bur-flower tree, kadamb or kadamba tree, it is a fast-growing pioneer species reaching 36m in height. The photograph shows the cream-coloured styles and stigmas protruding from the spherical heads of the yellow-orange flowers, producing a unique Koosh ball-like inflorescence that measures 2.5 to 4cm in diameter. Though the individual flowers appear tightly clustered, they are in fact separate and not fused together (PDF). The tree yields infructescences that are comprised of several tightly packed fruit capsules and contain many tiny seeds that are dispersed mainly by bats.
Neolamarckia cadamba is often mistaken for Mitragyna parviflora, a tree (sometimes also mistakenly called kadamb) associated with the Indian town of Brindavan and legends of the Hindu deity Krishna. A well-known tale involves Krishna stealing the clothes of the Gopis, cow-herd girls and devotees of Krishna, then climbing up the nearest kadamba tree and making the girls retrieve their garments, perhaps to teach them a lesson. Mitragyna parviflora is native to the hot, dry forests of the Brindavan area; Neolamarckia cadamba prefers moist forests and would not survive under those conditions (Krishen's Trees of Delhi).