There are 5 tree species which are currently in bloom in many parts of the country. The blooming season coincide with the intense heat of the dry season, which is common in western parts of the country and in Metro Manila.
While walking within the immediate vicinity, i was able to take photos of some trees in bloom.
5 Trees in Blooming Season
5.) Narra scientifically called ( Pterocarpus indicus) apalit,asana, agsana padauk, mukwa, Burmese rosewood, Andaman redwood, Philippine mahogany.
This tree species is found over wide range in Asia from India, Sri Lanka, Indo-China, Indonesia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Ryukyu islands, Solomon islands and the Philippines.
This tree species was declared the national tree of the Philippines in 1934 by Governor Frank Murphy. The blooming season of this tree species is between late February to early June.
It is quite hard to find old narra trees suitable for furniture and wooden floors. It is also expensive. People should plant more narra trees, since they are slow grower.
4.) Banaba – scientifically called ( Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers.) This flowering tree is locally called banaba, bugarom, bugarum, duguam, mitla, nabulong, pride of India, Queen’s flower among others. The tree grows between 5 to 20 meters in height.
Found in wide range of location from India, Bangladesh, Indo-China, Malaya, Taiwan, southern Japan and Philippines.
The young leaves are used as purugative and sometimes used in making local tea. Older tree can be used for timber.
3.) Royal Poinciana ( Delonix regia) – locally called flame tree, fire tree, flamboyant tree, peacock tree, caballero. The tree was introduced to the country via Mexico from Madagascar probably in the late 17th up to the early part of the 19th century. It is now considered common, pan-tropical and found in many parts of the globe. This had different blooming season in various countries where it was introduced. The blooming season is from early March to mid-June in the Philippines. Urban myths and local folklore that flowering signals the imminent arrival of the monsoon season.
Plaza Roma and Manila Cathedral Basilica days before the enhanced community quarantine
Old photos in the 19th century showed flame tree planted in Plaza Mayor in present day Plaza Roma in front of the Manila Cathedral. In 2008, former Intramuros administrator Ms. Anna Marie “Bambi” Harper gave permission the cutting of 29 narra, mahogany, ficus trees within Plaza Roma and then replanted some flame trees within the plaza. As reported by ABS-CBN channel 2.
This sparked some outrage in local plant conservation societies, since the tree is non-indigenous/ native. Its shallow root system is prone to toppling off during heavy rains or during typhoon.
2.) Acacia – ( Samanea saman/Albizia saman ( Jacq) F. Muell) known locally as acacia, akasya, monkey pod tree, cow tamarind, rain tree, false power puff tree which originated from tropical America. In Indonesia it is called meh, trembesi. it is called pukul lima, pokok hujan (“rain tree”), ampil barang in Malaysia.
Acacia/ Akasya found its way to the country during the late 16th to early part of the 19th century via famed Manila-Acapulco galleon trade. The tree species can grow between 30 to 60 meters in height and can be spectacular sight.
Now, this tree is found in many parts of the world and is considered pan-tropical. It is is widely planted as shade trees in parks, boulevards, churches, plazas, cemeteries and large estates.
The wood is beautiful is used in wood craft, cutting board and in planting denuded forest areas.
There are also many folkloric tales, urban legends which surround old acacia trees throughout its pan-tropical and sub-tropical range.
There were several centuries-old acacia trees found in many parts of the country. Paco Park boast of several trees which had witness the death of Dr. Jose Rizal and burial of prominent personalities within the park. Saint Anne Church in Taguig also a mute witness to the Philippine revolution, second world war and new millennium.
Far Eastern University’s in Manila campus also boast of an acacia tree which was planted and nurtured by the founder Dr. Nicanor Reyes Sr.
While the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus boasted of century-old fertility tree. I had a privilege to join a heritage tree walk in 2012 conduced by the Late Dr. Roberto E. Coronel when he was still alive.
The sad part was i also seen the dying acacia tree along Padre Faura street and a well-known fast food restaurant nearby.
Acacia tree is also host to different eipiphtyes such as ferns, orchids and hoyas in Nagcarlan, Laguna province.
Older tree can host several species of epiphtyes like Drynaria quercifolia, Asplenium nidus, hoya, Dendrobium crumenatum ( dove orchid), Luisia teretifolia ( bee or fly orchid )among others.
seed pods are also used as maracas by some musicians
1.) Golden Shower Tree- ( Cassia fistula) This is called under many names such as April shower tree, golden shower, purging cassia, Indian laburnum, pudding-pipe, kanya pistula, amaltaas, lapad-lapad, bistula, ibabau, lombayong or Royal Ratchaphruek tree in Thailand.
I have written an article about the folkloric uses, urban legend which surround the blooming cycle of this flowering tree species in the country.
Local botanists and horticulturists agree that the flowering tree was introduced into the country long before the arrival of the Spaniards. Might have been brought by sea traders from other southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand or Indian traders.
golden shower or april shower flowers
This blooming season for this flowering tree is between late February to late May depending on the region and provinces in the country. Now this tree species is found in sub-tropical to tropical areas all over the globe.
Bibliography, Sources and References:
Hargreaves, Dorothy and Bob: Tropical Trees: Found in the Carribean, South America, Mexico: ISBN-13: 978-0910690058/ ISBN-10: 0910690057
Heuzé V., Thiollet H., Tran G., Hassoun P., Lebas F., 2018. Golden tree (Cassia fistula). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO.
Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening 3: 10.
Madulid , Domingo Dr. (2000) The BookMark Philippines Inc., Makati A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants. ISBN: 971-569-367-9
Meninger Edwin Arnold. ( January 1962) Flowering Trees of the World for Tropics and Warm Climate, Heartwind Pubns; 1st Edition. edition, ISBN-10: 0820800392/ Isbn-13:978-0820800394
Philippine Native Trees 101, Philippine Native Trees 303 book
M.S. Swaminathan, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, India and S.L.Kochhar, University of Delhi ( 2019) Major Flowering Trees of Tropical Gardens. ISBN 9781108481953
Merrill, E.D. (1916) Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 6: 47