Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How I identify a Brazilian FireTree (Schizolobium parahyba)

Schizolobium parahyba is a fast growing tree that grows 3 meters each year. It is native in Central America to southern Brazil.

It started with me taking a picture of the plant at Taman Jurong Park. It really look unique with its soaring canopy and its slender and green trunk. I have never seen such Jurassic looking plant before.

The foliage is so small that I could not make up what it looks like. There is nothing else except the shape of the tree and the tree trunk itself. Usually one would want to find out its leaf shape, fruit, flower, trunk and overall shape of the tree to identify it. With just the tree trunk, it is hardly possible to identify the plant.

The first guess is that it is a giant Papaya as the trunk sure looks like it. However, the leaves does not have the shape of a papaya. Moreover, I have not seen a Caricaceae that is five story tall.

The next guess is a palm tree as it also leaves similar marks on the trunk. However palm leaves does not spread out like this tree. Its stalk also leaves a mark on a trunk like a ring. Again it is ruled out.

The next guess is that it is a Fern. Problem is that fern branches does not drop off like that. Again, the result is ruled out.

Well, that leaves me with no clue to what type of plant it is. As usual, I just do a picture search with The Plant Observatory as it is a web site that shows Singaporean Plants. The result is blank.

Next, I tried the Wellgrow site which is a Malaysian plant distributor. It turns out negative also.

Finally, I tried NParks website. Unfortunately, NPark showed its photo in a 2x2 cm size. You have to click on it to see a larger picture. There are thousands of pictures available in the tree category. Searching pictures with NParks is never easy. I usually missed the very plant that I look for. The initial result is again negative.

Finally I tried TopTropicals, a site that shows many tropical plants. Browsing through it usually take a long time as it has many thousands of pictures. The result is not fruitful.

I have no choice but to KIV the search.

On and off, I tried to find the plant again by browsing the few web sites mentioned above. The reason is that even with pictures, it may not match what I want to see. For example NParks shows a flower picture, a fruit picture and a young plant. What I am looking for is the tree trunk picture. Even by looking at the picture, there is no way to link it to the plant I am searching for unless I copy the Scientific name and then do a Google search with it. There is no way this is going to work unless I feel that it is remotely similar to the plant I wanted to find.

I posted the plant picture in iNaturalist and Noah Project hoping that some one has seen it before. There is no respond also. Thus, this item is left with the whole list of TBA (to be advised/identified).

I then chanced across the same tree in Hort Park recently. It renewed my motivation to do a search again as I managed to take a large picture of its leaves.

Searching through the picture catalog again slowly, I managed to find NPark picture on the plant. It may not look similar but at least its leaves structure matches. The picture showed a young plant that look like a shrub but since it is categorized in the Tree section, I decided to do a Google search with the name. When the Google search result appears, I am overjoyed. The first few pictures show a grown tree and it looks very similar to the one I saw.

Usually, I will confirm whether it is available in Singapore first. As mentioned before the tree is native in America. It turned out that NParks has it listed in the Heritage Tree registry. Well, that concludes my search. One plant specie is added to my plant collection.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Pioneer to Boon Lay

This is a walking route. I have been to Pioneer MRT a few times to attend to LCSG cycling events. This trip is to explore the nature around the area.

There is a small garden just at the corner of the road junction. The Oxblood Lily looks gorgeous.

The Purple Sage with silvery leaves looks quite unique. I took 3 picture of it in Garden by the Bay last week and was trying to find its name. This time round I managed to find it.

The Paper Flower Plant color looks very different. I wonder if it is a different subspecies or a faded purple color.

The Thailand PowderPuff flower looks very striking. I don't know whether it is my triggering finger or what, quite a number of objects in zoomed picture slants to the right. I need to remember to offset it to the left before pulling the trigger.

Along the PCN, I came across another small garden which have a plant that looks like Brocoli leaves.

In the same garden there are three different color Gomphrenas. I took a picture of two of the less common ones. The most common one is purple color.

There is an odd Golden Shrimp plant growing there. It is much nicer to see more of it.

I am getting confused by the Yunan Garden and Yunan Park. Both have the 南洋大学 arch (the former is a duplicate). On consulting the map, Yunan Garden is just next to NTU. Whereas Yunan Park is just a small park behind the original Arch.

This Neptunia (false mimosa) grows all over the ground in front of Yunan Park. It is interesting to note that it has Yellow petals and White stamens. I never notice it before.

This ugly looking fruit pod is from a beautiful flower of a Illawara Flame Tree. Previously, I had to purposely get down from a bus near Clementi just to take its flower picture. It grows plentifully along Jurong West St 93.

This Purple Allamanda grows along the road side. Its from another small garden.

My all time favorite - the Hibiscus.

Its real hard to cut through HDB blocks. Tends to get disoriented by the concrete jungle. Managed to find my way to the overhead bridge to the Yunan Garden. Just besides the overhead bridge, this Flame of the Forest grows beautifully just near by.

On the entrance of the Yunan Park, there is a sign board that says "visitors please report to the guard post". There is indeed a guard post there but there is nobody inside. None of the pedestrians even bother about it. So I guess it must be obsolete.

This park is actually quite big and well maintained. There are quite a number of plants being tagged. Most of them are trees. I am only interested in flowering trees thus did not bother to take picture of those which has no flower.

Song of India is always a nice plant to take picture although it does not have flower. Its leaves are just beautiful.

Came across a tree that have lots of fruits. At first I was wondering what tree is that. Then I looked further down and found another tree with cotton hanging on it. It is then I realize that it is a Silk Cotton Tree.

Further down, the Milky Way Plant looks just marvelous.

The Yellow Poinclane Tree is very common. I always have problem taking picture of its flower as it is a very tall tree. This is the last plant picture I took in Yunan Garden.

The Giant Crepe Myrtle is another tall tree. This one is just low enough to take a close up picture.

My HTC give up on me near Jurong West Library. I forgot to charge it to full thus only started with 67% charge. The worst thing is the I am lazy to carry the portable charger. Thus, I had to cut short the trip and go straight down to Boon Lay MRT after I took a picture of an Elephant's Foot Plant.

This is the first time I took a picture of this plant with its flower in full bloom. It is a very small flower. Took the picture at full digital zoom. Luckily the sun is up high thus can take a clear picture.

The WikiLoc route map is here.

The Picasa album is here.