Commonly known as the 'golden shower tree,' the Dok Khun flowers start to bloom just before New Year. The flowers, tied together in bunches, are used for scattering water for water blessing ceremonies. They are also in the silver bowl of water used for the New Year's blessings. Since they have so many cultural uses, it's easy to see why the Dok Khun is the National Flower of Thailand.
Whenever I see the flowers, I feel the great lazy feeling of this time of the year. March through May are the hot season, with the hottest part of the year during mid-April, which is the time of the Lao New Year.