Sunday, July 22, 2007

Trees on the shores

Sea almond (Terminalia catappa)

Called 'Ketapang' in Malay, young small trees may be seen on the coast. The broad leaves may all turn red at the same time, giving the feeling of autumn on the shore.

The tiny white flowers turn into almond shaped fruits that are green when young and become brown and woody as they mature.

It is a common wayside tree in Singapore can be seen along Jalan Eunos/PIE going towards Changi and East Coast Park.

The leaves shed twice a year, usually from yellow to orange and to maroon colour and it finally drops off the tree but sometimes drop when it turned yellow. After the crown is bare, new leaves develop, after which the tree flowers. Fruits are also disperse by fruit bats and floats on the sea for days before reaching the shore and germinating.

Fruit has a thick husk and its kernel can be eaten taste which taste like almond. The timber can be used for building houses and boats. Fish hobbyist and some aquarium shops will usually soak these dried leaves into fish tank, especially for fighting fish because it produce tannin which believed to be good for their scales.

Alexandra laurel (Calophyllum inophyllum)

Called 'Penaga Laut' in Malay, this tall tree has beautiful white flowers that turn into round hard fruits. The broad shiny leaves have fine parallel veins.

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