Most of you already very well know that here in the Philippines, we only have two (2) distinct seasons, the dry and the wet. The dry starts in Mar or April and ends in May or June. Our dry season really means dry, as in real dry! Grasses and weeds become brown, other tree leaves also drop off and others sometimes die. Some of you are familiar with my last year's post, because you pity our fruit trees and orchids that did not withstand it. We have lanzones, avocado and citrus trees that died. Clayey soils cracks and agriculture goes to the least production, except for a very few areas where supplemental water is available.
There are also fruits and ornamental trees that give us much colors in terms of flowers and fruits. Some of the most common are the fire trees (Delonix regia), golden shower (Casia fistula) and some others. I am posting here some of the least known trees, and not many people are familiar with these.
dry season soil cracks killing those newly planted rice plants
grasses are almost fully brown (can you see that bird a little bit depressed?)
octopus plant/umbrella plant, Brassaia actinophyla or Schefflera actinophyla
I remember this plant since first year in college, when i first saw it. I was so impressed with the long leaves nicely arranged like that! From then on i never forgot its name. This tree is planted at the ground behind our office building.
makopa (Tagalog) or tambis (Visayan) (Syzygium samarangense and/or S. malaccensis)
Makopa or tambis fruit is bell shaped with a waxy skin, so it is sometimes called wax apple. It has several cultivars as pink, white, green and purple. It has a crisp, light, cottony or spongy white pulp that is mild in flavor, sometimes sweet or moderately sweet. This tree is at the back of our office, and you can see the fruits which fell on the ground. Only a few people like this fruit especially because there are more delicious fruits around. I remember there are bigger cultivars in Thailand, which are nicely arranged in sidewalk stalls.
I found this cultivar at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, Quezon City, which already grown big from the nursery plastic container. It was supposed to be transplanted in a different site, but maybe neglect of the caretaker did not deter it to grow and fruit in season. We tasted the most ripe fruits and it is sweeter than moderate. A scale of 1-5 gives it a 3.5! (Can you detect the 0.5 difference?). Compared to the first variety, the latter's fruits are smaller, around 2-3cm, but they are so pretty changing colors as they ripen, from greenish to white and dark pink.
The above fruit cluster is not yet fully ripe, i just put it on the rock for a more dramatic contrast! Even if they are not as delicious as other fruits, they certainly provide a very lovely color in the garden. And the birds will not reject them too!
Note: there seems to be a problem yet with the differences in the classification: S. samarangense and S. malaccensis). A reference says S. samarangense is smaller than malaccensis, however i found there are still more species. A botanist may arrive next time to clarify these differences. I wonder if Phil of Digital botanic gardens will be able to straighten this out.
Thanks to Michelle for hosting Nature Notes