Monday, February 23, 2009

Hanging handkerchiefs

These white to light purple young leaves hang like long handkerchiefs from the the tip of the yellow saraca ( Saraca thaipingensis ) tree branches. I saw two stretches of roads at the BDC housing estate this morning which have these mature trees in their initial blooming stage.
In India a close relative of this tree is the Ashoka tree ( Saraca asoca ) underwhich it was believed Buddha was born and as such the tree is considered sacred among adherents of the Buddhist faith.
The variety we have here has bright yellow flowers which are fragrant, especially at night. This is an evergreen tree and is considered small as they very rarely reach more than 20 m. Over the years I have observed one specimen at the Sarawak Museum gardens and to my knowledge have been there for more than 15 years now and still retain a height of not more than 6m. I think this tree is a rarity even though it is native to this part of the world. As such I think it is good if other places in Sarawak emulate the planting of this species mainly for its unique look and blooms.

Close up of the bright yellow blooms of the saraca.

The flowers are attactive to bees and birds.
A characteristic of the saraca is its peculiar habit of having blooms emerging on the sides of older branches as seen here.


Eki Akhwan said...

that's a beutiful tree. i've seen that here, but never knew the name much less other details about it. thanks for sharing. you seem to know a lot about plants. are you a botanist?

Mahmud Yussop said...

Saudara Eki,
I'm not botanist, but in my line of work/business ( landscaping and eco-farming) some horticultural knowledge is essential.I pick them up along the way.