5 Flowering Trees in Bloom within the Neighborhood

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

Personal interviews

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

Tanaka, Yoshitaka; Van Ke, Nguyen (2007). Edible Wild Plants of Vietnam: The Bountiful Garden. Thailand: Orchid Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-9745240896.

 

Ateneo de Manila Bird and Tree Walk

      Ateneo De Manila University campus , Loyola Heights , Quezon City

Last May 3, 2012 Friday ,  I met  Ms. Melanie Marfal , her niece and Mr. Anthony Arbias in a fast-food restaurant within Philcoa .  I have arrived more than 30 minutes before the appointed time.    We then hitch ride our way  to the campus of Ateneo de Manila University  for an afternoon of bird , tree , architectural and photo tour of the campus.

Group of students, professors, alumni, members of Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated and Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of  Mr. Anthony Arbias of  PNPCSI

          There are already several people at the Gonzaga parking area of the university  . According to our guide  it was on  April 11, 2011  the Ateneo Environmental Management Coalition (AEMC), Ateneo Bird Ecology Study (ABES) group , the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) have been organizing a two-hour bird walk within the sprawling campus.

members of the organization interacted with the participants of the bird and tree walk . Photo courtesy of Mr. Anthony Arbias of PNPCSI

Mr. Anthony Arbias and Dr. Rico Quimbo acted as tour guides  for tree identification around the campus

However some alumni would say that an organized tour around the campus may have started even earlier . we saw long-tailed shrikes, black-naped oriole , Eurasian tree sparrow , collared king fisher, a pair of piel fan tails , golden-bellied fly-eater,  pied triller , wood-swallows,  crested mynah flying back and forth several times to a location . All these bird species  observed along the busy acacia tree lane of Ramon Magsaysay Avenue within the  Ateneo campus.

Manila Observatory marker

Itinerary

The itinerary of the bird and tree walk showcases a visual delight of matched lush vegetation , architecture , disturbed areas ,  manicured lawn  ,  monuments , buildings  and even  parking spaces .

Lagerstroemia speciosa locally known as banaba 

Banaba is a flowering plant that grows in warm climate like the Philippines, India and others. Banaba is widely used in the Philippines and as herbal medicine for diabetes and is also grown for landscaping urban gardens.

Link : http://www.medicalhealthguide.com/articles/banaba.htm

statute of Saint Ignatius of Loyola 

The trail starts at the grounds of the Manila Observatory toward Seminary Road, and then to Lucas Infirmary which then segues to a narrow flight of steps that ends at the Residence Halls.

From there, the trail continues to the “mini-forest” part at the vicinity of the Church of the Gesu and finishes at the “Wildlife Sanctuary” facing the Jesuit Residence.

lowland white eye (Zosterops meyeni ) Bonaparte 1850,  an endemic bird species

The crowd slowly began to swell to more than 60  with most of the members are students, faculties , alumni of Ateneo de Manila University , Wild Bird Club of the Philippines , Philippine Science High School and Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated.

 This is one of the oldest and most beautiful building in Ateneo De Manila University campus ( Manila Observatory )

a colony of Oecophylla smaragdina locally called red weaver ants or pulang  hantik

The group saw several colonies of weaver ants  living on a mango tree close to the communication tower. The group try to avoid the ant colony for obvious reason ( to avoid the stinging bite ) .

a globular structure located near  the communication tower

communication towers also serves as a second home for birds

 Ants are among the most successful evolutionary creatures. They did not only survive millions of years as groups but have, in fact, together with bees, wasps and cockroaches reached the highest evolutionary level . The secret of this success is closely linked with their social life which has fascinated man.

Drynaria quercifolia or known as oak leaf fern, paipaimo, pakpak lawin fern

Pakpak-lawin is a large xerophyte, belonging to the fern family of  Polypodiaceae. Rhizome is creeping, stout and fleshy, with narrow, brown to blackish short-ciliate scales. Leaves are of two kinds: cup-leaves and the fertile fronds. Cup-leaves are humus gathering fronds, brown and shiny when mature, 15- 30 cm length, 5-20 cm wide. Fertile fronds are long, pinnately lobed, on stipes 20 to 30 cm long.

This fern is also used extensively for landscaping , dry flower arrangement and a source for pasdak . It some areas of the country it is known to have medicinal properties and possesses magical charm.

Link :http://stuartxchange.com/PakpakLawin.html

Phalaenopsis X intermedia a natural hybrid , Hoya species and Drynaria quercifolia

Phalaenopsis xintermedia Lindl. 1852-3 SUBGENUS Polychilos SECTION Zebrinae Pfitz 1889 a natural hybrid  of  Phalaenopsis aphrodite and  Phalaenopsis equestris

Church of Gesu

The Church of the Gesù is a landmark church within the Ateneo de Manila University campus  .  Designed by  Mr. Jose Pedro Recio and Mr. Carmelo Casas , the edifice’s massive triangular structure symbolizes the Holy Trinity  , as well as the three-fold mission and vision of the school.

Church of Gesu was built from 2001 to 2002 . This church is considered as a modern landmark and a major focal point in the spiritual life of   the campus

Its shape and design is also meant to suggest the outstretched arms of the Sacred Heart, and the traditional Filipino bahay kubo. The site has a total area of 10,200 square meters, and a  seating capacity of 1,000 persons.

Gesù Liturgical Committee
Church of the Gesù
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City

Telephone: 426-6069 or 426-6001 loc.4071 (Marife)
Fax: 426-6088 (ATTN: GESÙ Liturgical Committee)
E-mail: gesu@admu.edu.ph

Campus Ministers:
Edmark (loc. 4076)
Jerome (loc. 7154)

Rain tree of more popularly called Akasya or Acacia , this tree was introduced in the 1840’s from South America to beautify Manila’s public parks.

Notes:  At the end of the tour, The author met at least 60 people with different interest, shared our different ideas and same passion over our hobbies and interests. Bird watching is a very interesting field, you need to go out and see that in the modern urban areas, there are still wilderness areas where one can appreciate nature at its best.

 The author would also like to thanks Mr. Raffy Saldaña,  Mr. Adri Constantino (guide) and Ms. Trinket Canlas (guide)

We also saw at least  a dozen bird species , about a dozen native and introduced tree species, dozens of ornamental plants and an architectural heritage of the university . But according to our tour head, there were at least 50 bird species that can be found within the campus .

After the tour , we were again invited for another tour in La Vista Subdivision and stayed there for several hours and enjoyed watching the rare owl.

Sources:

Ateneo de Manila : http://www.ateneo.edu/index.php?p=120&type=2&aid=10892

Church of Gesu : http://www.ateneo.edu/index.php?p=1717

lowland white-eye :http://ibc.lynxeds.com/species/lowland-white-eye-zosterops-meyeni

Phalaenopsis x intermediahttp://www.orchidspecies.com/phalintermediavardiezii.htm

Holy Cross Memorial Park Horticulture Walk

Holy Cross Memorial Park is one of the private memorial parks located in Barangay San Bartolome , Novaliches , Quezon CityMetro Manila that is a favorite place for joggers and a perfect place to relax .

rows of anahaw palm

ficus trees lined the street going to the park

The park is home to more than 150 species of trees and flowering plants  plus about two dozen known birds. Every Year there were at least  75,000 to 150,000 people who visit the  their beloved ones who are buried . There is a also a group joggers from different associations.

Spathodea campanulata or African Tulip Tree

This tree species  was probably introduced to the country  from tropical Africa during the American regime. In certain parts of the world, it is known as the Fountain Tree as well as the Flame of the Forest.

This is a popular ornamental tree in the tropics and is much appreciated for its showy reddish-orange or crimson flowers. It can provide ample shade and because of its bright flowers, it’s always a colorful addition to any garden. The wood is difficult to burn, so the tree is also valuable for fire resistant landscaping. It is cultivated in parks, gardens, and along roadsides. It is commonly seen growing around Metro Manila and Tagaytay area and is often considered an evergreen, though it sheds its leaves during summer.

The flower buds form a ball-shaped cluster. Each brown banana-shaped flower bud is filled with water, forming a natural water pistol when squeezed. The outer buds bloom first before the inner ones. The tree blooms year round and a flower lasts about 3 days. The ripe pods split open into a woody, boat-shaped form. Children use them in boat races, by placing the opened pods in a fast flowing drain.

Medicinal Value:

Though there is no reported folkloric use here in the Philippines, Its leaves, root bark, stems, and fruits yield alkaloids, tannin, saponin, steroids, terpenoids, and flavonoid and are used in African medicines. In some African countries, the stem bark is used as a paste for healing wounds as it has anti-microbial properties. In Ghana, the stem bark and leaf are used for treatment of dyspepsia and peptic ulcer; while the leaf, root bark, and fruit is used for arthritis and fractures.

Though there is no reported folkloric use here in the Philippines, its leaves, root bark, stems, and fruits yield alkaloids, tannin, saponin, steroids, terpenoids, and flavonoid and are used in African medicines. In Africa, the stem bark is used as a paste for healing wounds as it has anti-microbial properties. In Ghana, the stem bark and leaf are used for treatment of dyspepsia and peptic ulcer; while the leaf, root bark, and fruit is used for arthritis and fractures. The stem bark is also used for toothaches and stomach aches while the root bark and seeds are used for stomach ulcers.

a traditional Chinese-style family mausoleum

This tree can survive in shaded areas, but it requires full sunlight exposure to be able to grow fast and bloom with an abundance of flowers. It can even grow faster when there is plenty of moisture though it endures droughts by shedding leaves.

Couroupita guianensis or Cannon Ball Tree

Couroupita guianensis, whose common names include Ayahuma or  Cannonball Tree, is an  tree allied to the Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa), and is native to tropical northern South America and to the southern Caribbean . In India it has been growing for the past two or three thousand years at least, as attested by textual records; hence it is possible that it is native to India also. It’s part of the family Lecythidaceae and grows up to 25m (82ft) in height.

flower

The “Cannonball Tree” is so called because of its brown cannon-ball-like fruits. The majority of these trees outside their natural environment have been planted as a botanical curiosity, as they grow very large, distinctive flowers. Its flowers are orange, scarlet and pink in color, and form large bunches measuring up to 3m in length. They produce large spherical and woody fruits ranging from 15 to 24cm in diameter, containing up to 200 or 300 seeds a piece.

Introduction:

This introduced species was probably brought to the country during the American regime . Its decorative flowers and fruit makes this tree ideal as a focal point in large gardens and estate. However it is not recommended to plant this tree in small garden spaces .

The tree gets its common name from the large, spherical fruits it produces. The fruit falls from the tree and cracks open when it hits the ground when mature, often causing the sound of a small explosion. The fruit emits an unpleasant aroma when exposed to the air. Individual seeds within the “ball” are coated with hair, which is thought to protect the seed when it is ingested and may also help in the passage of the seed through the intestines.

Traveller’s palm

Ravenala madagascariensis, commonly known as  Traveller’s Palm, is a species of plant from Madagascar. However , horticulturists do not consider this plant as a true palm(family Arecaceae) but a member of the bird-of-paradise family, Strelitziaceae.this plant is the sole member of its genus. This plant was introduced to the country during the early American regime and is widely distributed as a common landscaping plant material.

Chrysalidocarpus  lutescens called palmera / butterfly palm

  Local folk called this palmera because of its fronts and commonly used as an ornamental plant and backdrop for flower arrangements . This is a common palm found in most pan-tropical countries around the world.

A slender , clustering palm that can grow height to more than 12 meters. The graceful yellow green leaves and can reach up to 2 meters. This palm is native to Madagascar and was introduced in the early 20th century in the country as landscaping material. It is now commonly found in parks , private homes and this palm is also popular as indoor potted plant.

a flowering palm

Cassia fistula, known as the Golden shower tree , is a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae,   native to southern Asia, from southern Pakistan east through India, Mayanmar and south to Sri Lanka.

Golden shower tree or Cassia fistula

It is the national tree of  Thailand, and its flower is Thailand’s national flower. It is also state flower of Kerala in India and of immense importance amongst Malayali population.  This is a very popular plant throughout its range and has medicinal and folkloric uses.

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis or bottle palm

Bottle palm was introduced to the country some  20 to 30 years ago via Bangkok, Thailand  and Florida nurseries  , Filipino landscapers usually used this palm to landscape the front lawns  of the houses. The compact growth of this palm is ideal for those who do not have large spaces. There are specimen sized palm planted in some exclusive villages in Forbes Park , Corinthian Garden, Valle Verde, Ayala- Alabang  and in Greenhills .

Chua family mausoleum

Bottle Palm has a large swollen (sometimes bizarrely so) trunk. It is a myth that the trunk is a means by which the palm stores water. Bottle Palm has only four to six leaves open at any time. The flowers of the palm arise from under the crown shaft.

Roystonea regia or Royal Palm

Royal palm was introduced to the country during the late Spanish period and was planted in public places such as in Malecon drive ( aka Bonifacio Drive) , Intramuros , Hardin Botanico de Manila now known as Mehan Garden .

Roystonea is a genus of eleven species  of monoecious palm, native to the Caribbean Islands and the adjacent coasts of  Florida , Central and South America. Commonly known as the royal palms, the genus was named for Roy Stone, an engineer in the US Army . It contains some of the most recognizable and commonly cultivated palms in tropical and subtropical regions.

Champaka trees planted in one of the family graves

The flowers are used in Southeast Asia for several purposes. They are primarily used for worship at temples whether at home or out, and more generally worn in hair by girls and women as a means of beauty ornament as well as a natural perfume. Flowers are used to be floated in bowls of water to scent the room, as a fragrant decoration for bridal beds, and for garlands.

rows of anahaw palm

Aside from its wealth of plants and birds, Holy Cross Memorial Park  is the final resting place of controversial massacre victims of Vizconde family and Mr. Renato Victor A. Ebarle Jr. son of  Undersecretary Renato Ebarle Sr.who works for the Office of the Presidential chief of staff during the Arroyo presidency.

final resting place of Mr. Renato Ebarle Jr.

Mr. Renato Ebarle Jr. died in a tragic road rage shooting incident which involve the son of  Mrs. Marilyn Aguilar -Pollard in November 18, 2009 .  There are also unique tombstone and family mausoleum located within the memorial park .

castle inspired mausoleum

Assistant Pastor Lina C. Almeda tomb

Assistant Pastor Lina C. Almeda is the wife of Pastor Wildie E.Almeda of Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry , her tomb is a mecca for the followers of JMIC members.

She was fervent in teaching about loving, obeying, and totally surrendering one’s life to the Lord. She was passionate about living and teaching a life of holiness. She died on January 24, 2004.

Mussaenda philippica variety aurorae

This is a tropical shrub or sub-shrub that will grow to 10ft tall in tropical areas, but more likely will reach 1-3ft tall in containers. Clusters (corymbs) of small, tubular flowers with five spreading lobes bloom in summer, however it is the large and colorful, ovate, leaf-like sepals (to 3” long) that provide the real ornamental display. Some individual flowers in each cluster will develop a single enlarged sepal. Elliptic to ovate, bright green leaves (to 6” long). Hybrids typically feature flowers in red and/or yellow with showy sepals of white, bright red or pink.

Origin: named after Donya Aurora Aragon- Quezon , wife of a former President Manuel Luis Quezon of the Philippines .

White Mussaenda also commonly called  Virgin Tree or Donya Aurora can be grown as ornamental in parks and public gardens or along roadsides, byways and highways. Use in landscaping, this plant serves well as a decorative specimen with its showy blooms and would fit beautifully in home gardens too! Attractive to butterflies, bees,  and insect pollinators as a nectar plant.

tombstone with Tagalog inscription

family mausoleum with interesting cathedral -like dome

                                                            a circular family mausoleum ( some architectural details  have some  similarities of planetarium in Luneta )

The golden form of Golden Vietcha or Adonidia merrillii  golden is widely used as landscaping plant

This is a mutant variety of the, Bunga China , Bunga de Jolo, Manila Palm or Christmas Palm.The palm can reach up to  a height of 15-20 feet. The gently arching fronds are bright green and grow lushly from the top of the crown shaft. They grow to a length of 5 feet with leaflets up to 2 feet long by 2 inches wide.

Two foot long, branched flower stalks emerge from the area where the crownshaft meets the gray trunk. Pale green flower buds open into spidery cream-colored blossoms.

Tale of Discovery:

One mutant palm that has made a lot of growers much richer is the so-called Golden Veitchia. This is a golden mutation of the ordinary Bunga China or Veitchia merrillii. This was first discovered in the garden of Mr. Cesar Pecson in Singalong, Manila, in the mid-1980s. It came from the fruits of a Bunga China planted beside the gate of Pecson’s home.

According to Mr. Zacarias  Sarian , While having snack  in Pecson’s garden,  Mr. Sarian  saw some of the seedlings that sprouted from the fallen fruits on the ground had golden leaves. He suggested to Pecson that he pot those golden seedlings and then sell them at the Baclaran plant market where he had a stall. That’s exactly what he did and was glad to sell them at only P25 per seedling. When he observed that people were buying his seedlings, Pecson raised his price. He raised all the more when the plant traders from Bangkok learned about the Golden Veitchia and bought everything that was available.

Somehow traders from Bangkok and Malaysia were able to buy some seedlings of the mutant variety which they re-package the name Golden Butia or Golden Vietcha !

Many of the local growers made money by selling some of their full grown plants to landscapers at a high price. Some of the plants they retained bore fruit and they also produced Golden Veitchia seedlings which they were able to sell at a good price.

In Thailand, the Nong Nooch Garden Resort is now growing Golden Veitchia by the hectares and is selling them at a high price. The price of the mutant variety sky rocketed and even reach a several thousand of pesos !This has made not a few growers not just a little richer.

Since the Thai’s were very good in cultivating the mutant strain , they were able to successfully marketed in mass quantities  in just matter of years .

Now, the price of the mutant variety is more affordable but still more expensive then the ordinary form.

                                       Bread Fruit/ Kamansi/ Rimas (Tagalog ) Kolo

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a species of  the mulberry family, Moraceae  growing throughout Southeast Asia and most Pacific Ocean islands. Its name is derived from the texture of the cooked fruit, which has a potato-like flavor, similar to fresh-baked bread.

The ancestors of the Polynesians found the trees growing in the northwest New Guinea area around 3500 years ago. They gave up the rice cultivation they had brought with them from ancient Taiwan, and raised breadfruit wherever they went in the Pacific (except Easter Island and New Zealand, which were too cold). Their ancient eastern Indonesian cousins spread the plant west and north through insular and coastal Southeast Asia. It has, in historic times, also been widely planted in tropical regions elsewhere.

                                                                                         Banaba tree in bloom

Lagerstroemia speciosa  is a  decidious tropical flowering tree, 5 to 10 m high, sometimes growing to a height of 20 meters. Leaves, large, spatulate, oblong to elliptic-ovate, 2-4 inches in width, 5-8 inches in length; shedding its leaves the first months of the year. Before shedding, the leaves are bright orange or red during which time it is thought to contain higher levels of corosolic acid). Flowers are racemes, pink to lavender; flowering from March to June. After flowering, the tree bears large clumps of oval nut like fruits.

Author’s note: Most of the trees and plants that the author featured in the horticulture walk blooms on a seasonal basis. It is wise to plan  the tour in order to see what is flowering for a particular month.

References:

ANTIALLERGIC AND ANTIDIABETIC COMPOUNDS FROM SOME PHILIPPINE MEDICINAL PLANTS

http://home.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/~shoyaku/member/yamasaki/Philip99.htm
Hypoglycemic effect of extracts from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaves in genetically diabetic KK-AY mice
Kakuda T, Sakane I, Takihara T, Ozaki Y, Takeuchi H, Kuroyanagi M. / Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1996 Feb;60(2):204-8.

Balick, M. & Cox, P. (1996). Plants, People and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. New York: Scientific American Library HPHLP, p.85

McLendon, Chuck (May 16, 2000). “Ravenala madagascariensis”. Floridata.com. Retrieved September 14, 2009

Spathodea Campanulata: an Experimental Evaluation of the Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Properties of a Traditional Remedy / Emmanuel E Ilodigwe and Peter A Akah / Asian Journal of Medical Sciences 1(2): 35-38, 2009

U. S. Department of Agriculture, William Saunders; Catalogue of Economic Plants in the Collection of the U. S. Department of Agriculture; Washington D. C.; June 5,

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