Aminiya School and many ardent admirers of nature were left devastated on Wednesday when a nearly half-century-old tabebuia rosea, or rosy trumpet, tree, which had adorned the school grounds, uprooted and fell in the early school hours. The ages old tree had dried up and hollowed from the inside.

Workers had just finished sweeping the grounds around 8 a.m. when the tree fell, said Nazleen Wafir, the school’s principal. “The inside of the tree had dried out and hollowed, and it was as if the tree uprooted itself,” she said. None of the students were harmed, even though some were at school during that time, she said.

The tree had brought added character to the school grounds and was admired for its unique presence, especially during its bloom periods when it burst forth with a flourish of vivacious flowers aplenty. Students and admirers flocked to the tree during such times to snap pictures and celebrate the force of nature that stood in striking contrast to the concrete jungle that surrounded it.

“I was brought to tears when the tree fell. It has a very long history, it blooms beautifully, many children come to take pictures [of the tree] during the bloom periods; its shade stretches out quite far,” Wafir said according to local media reports.

Native to the Americas, tabebuia rosea is known for its resilience, surviving, and thriving, in heavily deforested areas. The species have been found growing from sea-level to 1,200m, in temperatures ranging from 20 °C to 30 °C while the flowers are most in abundance during the dry seasons, even as the tree is more defoliated.

Waste Management Company (WAMCO), the Malé City Council and the Ministry of Education had coordinated efforts to clear the fallen tree from the school grounds.