Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Growths, New Life

In temperate countries, new growths are usually associated with spring. Colorful flowers also emerge this season. However in the tropics like the Philippines, where only two seasons are observed, new growths appear after the first rains following the long dry season. Rainy season starts usually in May and ends in December. Because we share the same seasons with most of the ASEAN countries, we also share common plants.

I would like to share with you some photos representing our rainy season growths. These are mostly vegetative growths. I also did not include germination, which is also a different group of development. This also doesn't include yet the flowers which are triggered to sprout primarily by the rains. Other flowers' dormancy periods are also ended by the first rains. This will be included in a future post.

By the way, do you wonder why most new growths have reddish or purplish colors? They only change their color to green when they are already fully expanded and moderately mature! Any guesses or true explanations?
A banana sucker passing out through some dried leaf sheaths.

Avocado (Persia americana) with juvenile colors showing in most leaves

Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), which produces very ornamental-like bunches of yellow and red fruits at maturity is very common in ASEAN  countries. Fruits and mature plants are now posted by Autumn Belle at

Cat's whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus), said to have many medicinal properties

Peacock flower or Caesalpinia pulcherrima, showing the small shoot,  as well as the bigger mother stem


A birds' nest fern (Asplenium nidus) unfurling the tip, with a mosquito riding on top

A forest tree which i don't even know the common name, but i apapreciated the colors of the young leaves

Young plantlets along the leaves of succulents serve also as their ready planting materials


  1. This is so interesting Andrea! I did not realize you had only two seasons. Could the reddish colors of the new growth have to do with warding off critters that might eat the fresh leaves. Seems I did know the answer to this once. Could also have to do with photosynthetic pigments. Lovely photos! ;>)

  2. Andrea this was interesting - I grow some shrubs just for their juvenile foliage. I think the colours could be down to the amount of sugars in the leaf and photosynthesis.

  3. Interesting post. I had assumed that the red leaves are due to a lack of photosynthesis. When they see the sun, their true selves emerge. Let me know the real answer to it. I just chewed some reddish neem leaves this morning.

    Happy Deepavali!

  4. hi mam! can you recognize my picture? =)

  5. THanks for sharing these lovely images.Thanks too for your encouragement.

  6. What a great post with wonderful pictures. I also think the answer to your question lies with photosynthesis.

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  7. I will be putting my replies regarding the reddish colors of juvenile leaves after all the commenters have put theirs. Thank you for all your appreciations and thoughts here. I am smiling big now, i just can't put a big smilie here!

  8. Lovely photos! Hmmmm.....I wonder why some leaves are red when young too. Like my roses which are producing dark red leaves.

  9. Wow, you have wonderful pictures here! You show that even in the tropics with only two seasons, there are beauties that could equal those in places with four seasons. You have captured such beauty brilliantly.
    In answer to your questions, the cabbages in my photos are only ornamental. And yes, Umeå is in the north, and is presently the capital of the north of Sweden. It lies along the eastern coast of the country, like Stockholm,Uppsala, Sundsvall, the High Coast, etc. Good you've been to this country before. Yes, it's nice to come back.
    Thanks for the comment you left on my photo blog.I appreciate it so much.

  10. Lovely photographs, Andrea! I like the soft green and red colors of the new growth!

  11. Thanks for a very interesting post. I really enjoyed your pictures and information. As to why leaves turn green, I believe it is connected to chlorophyll, which is used in photosynthesis. The new canes on our roses start out red as well.
    Thanks for visiting my site.

  12. Beautiful photos again, Andrea! I especially love that unfurling Bird's Nest Fern frond. I am always fascinated by the look of their curled tips.

  13. Hi, Andrea;
    It's always so much fun visiting your blog and seeing the exotics. Your garden world is so very, very different from mine. :)

    I'm with the rest of the gang - I believe it's photosynthesis.

  14. My dear Andrea, I'm so glad you have a picture of the rambutan shoots here. I have linked to your post.

    I'm so glad I'm not too late to guess the answer to your question. Since many say about the chlorophyll, I try a different answer.

    I notice that pests e.g. caterpillars love green shoots. Could the red colour in shoots be a form of protection or deterence from being eaten? Matures leaves are better able to withstand pest attacks.

    Cheers to you for the interesting, informative post and 'mind exercise'!

  15. Wonderful photos, Andrea. You take such great pictures. Love the one with the mosquito. HA! :)

  16. Hello again everyone, thank you very much for your comments and time to think of my little mind exercise. They say mind exercises deters aging, haha!

    So most young leaves have reddish to purplish colors. These pigments are mostly anthocyanins, one of the pigments (YES) related to photosynthesis, which are directly happening in another pigments (green)called the chloroplasts. Anthocyanins serve as protective mechanism for the intense light intensity and UV to reach this still young chloroplasts. They serve as the umbrella or sun-block to avoid too much light stress. The technical term is photoinhibition. This mechanism with energy excitation in photosynthesis is very complex, so this is just the simplest way i can explain it. Thank you so much for the little test.

  17. Everybody slightly touched on photosynthesis, but the teacher will cross the answer, as that is vague. Warding off critters and pests is also crossed, so nobody got the perfect score! haha!

    Carol - i am happy i was able to convey information to people in the other half of the earth. Yes we only have 2 seasons and we are not privileged to see your Autumn leaves and snow!

    Rosie - i don't think so, the chloroplasts are still very young to manufacture sugars.

    One - not really. What is the taste of juvenile neem leaves? What is that supposed to eradicate, i thought neem leaves are insect repellants.

    Hi Don - you did not join our fun here! You are supposed to know the answer cause this is taught in basic Crop Science course in undergrad, hehe!

    Ruth - my prayers for Jake and your family. Take care and be strong, all of us go through the process.

    Flowerlady - the answer has to be exact, hehe, no points for you just like the rest of them.

    Aaron - yes the roses have exeptionally reddish young leaves. I have a lot of those but forgot to include them here, memory gap!

  18. Charlene - thanks for your visit in the tropics, i am sure if you can see our country you will be feeling just like in another world, same as I when i first see Sweden and the monotonous growths of your trees, as if they are very well organized naturally. And the tulips growing as grasses is really awesome. How i wish i can reach the north of Sweden, as in your area, hopefully in this lifetime.

    Linda - i am trying so much to take nicer photos, inspired by yours.

    George - i hope you will come back again. Yes, the anthocyanins protect the chlorophyll while they are still young.

    Floridagirl - yes you are very familiar with these sights, as we have almost the same vegetation. I also love the unfurling fern fronds.

    Kate - i am glad you find some interesting things here. One of my purposes in blogging is to introduce to the 'other world' our uniqueness and beauty so different from the rest of the world. Thank you.

    Autumn Belle - haha, yes you are late and i'm waiting for you. Wrong answer, trichomes or hairs or other chemicals detter the larvae. They don't eat much of the young leaves because they are not yet nutritious, hehe.

    Daisy - with that photo you can detect that i have some terrible sense of humor. You are the lone visitor who noticed that. Thanks for your visit and appreciation.

  19. Hello, nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your photos are beautiful and fascinating. I'm looking forward to reading your past posts.

  20. Thanks, Andrea for inviting me to this post. I'm familiar with a number of your plants from my years in Florida. It was lovely to see these old friends in their emerging stages.

  21. Insect repellent in the stomach acts as a parasite repellent. I didn't take the neem leaves to eradicate anything for I believe it could eradicate worms. In India, people take neem leaves every morning for general health. It is said that neem can cure many ailments. But I specifically took it because I thought my body was overly acidic. I imagine it could assist in balancing up. I think it did help.

  22. Very impressed, Andrea ... lovely photos and so interesting!

  23. Mel, Kathleen and Joey - thanks for dropping by too. And thanks for your appreciation.

    One - i love it when we go back and forth in each other's blog and putting comments now and then in one post. This is a part of what we call "constipated - diarrheic" blogging! hahaha, what do you say?

  24. Fantastic pictures. I would like to visit your country one of these days. My helper is from Phillippines too and has been with me for 13yrs. She is like family.

  25. I am late to the party but I came in time to get the answer to the beautiful red shoots and leaves! As usual, very informative and interesting. I love how you captured the new growth in your pictures. I rely on yours and Autumn Belle's blogs to set me straight about what I remembered of tropic plants of my youth. Going to be checking back often as I start on my new garden in Temecula.


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