The Yellow Flower Road…

May 30, 2014 at 11:14 pm | Posted in itchy fingers | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers were driving when we saw this phenomena…A look up at the nearby trees and we got our answer…

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Pavement along the road were covered with a layer of yellow flowers….

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These flowers were from the Angsana Tree (Pterocarpus indicus), a large deciduous tree that grows up to 40m tall, with trunk up to 2 m diameter. It can be recognised by its drooping, dome-shaped crown

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It was actually quite a pretty sight with the road covered by the flowers….They bloom for only a day, then rain down the next morning, creating yellow carpets on the ground

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Close up of the flowers…we could still smell the faint fragrance…

Many of us are familiar with the fruits, which are flattened pods with disc-like papery wings since we often see the fallen brown ones on the roads. But we are less familiar with the flowers because the trees are so high for us to see the tiny flowers clearly….well, that is, if they were to flower. According to this Singapore infopedia site, “Flowering in Angsana is related to temperature variations and rainfall. In habitats where there is a marked dry season, the Angsana flowers twice a year. Leaf shedding followed by flowering occur conspicuously after a period of dry weather. However, Angsanas in Singapore do not flower twice a year as a distinct dry period is uncommon. They do not flower at all, unless there is an exceptional hot and dry period, for example, in 1982 and 1983.” No wonder I have not much memory of such mass flowering of the tree. The recent change in temperate must be the trigger for this!

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Dried leaves among fallen flowers….According to Wiki, the flowers are used as a honey source while leaf infusions are used as shampoos in Indonesia. Both flowers and leaves were said to be eaten. The leaves are supposedly good for waxing and polishing brass and copper. It is also a source of kino or resin

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Good thing there was an overhead bridge next to the flowering tree, so we could climb up and take some shots of the flowers…

But we weren’t too happy cos the most flowers were already gone…So we walked around and looked for more Angsana trees….Following the yellow flower road led us to this whole rows of flowering trees….Itchyfingers decided to go up to the nearest block for an aerial view…..hahahah…

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Wow! From just the 10th floor, we could see this! What a beautiful sight to open your door every morning and be welcomed by flowering trees and not another block of HDB flats! The older government flats were built more spaced out with more matured trees….

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There were so many flowers that we were spoilt for choice!

By the way, do you know that the Angsana is the national tree of the Philippines? Itchyfingers just found out too! 😀

Also see related posts:
> Tree On Fire

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Tree On Fire

May 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Posted in itchy fingers | Leave a comment
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Believe it or not, but it was the first time, or rather first time in my conscious mind, that Itchyfingers sees the Flame of the Forest tree up close. Why did I say that? Well, the tree was supposed to be a common wayside tree in Singapore, but for some reasons, we seem to be seeing lesser of them nowadays. I remember vividly reading about it on the primary school Science textbook and always wondered how it looks like in real life. I think I might have seen it then, but I couldn’t remember much. As we grow up and get tied up with our daily lives, we seem to be noticing lesser of things around us. Gradually, I have forgotten about the tree….

So it was to Itchyfingers’ greatest delight when we finally saw the tree. The discovery was followed by a report on a local Singapore Flowering Facebook page on a heritage Flame of the Forest tree blooming with flowers. The page was recently set up after various sightings of flowering trees blossoming to full glory, probably triggered by the recent dry spell.

We were in awe when we saw the magnificent tree…

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So beautiful! The Flame of the Forest (Delonix regia) is a medium to large deciduous tree with a broad umbrella-shaped crown

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You can reach this heritage tree by climbing the stairs at Hill Street to the top of Fort Canning Hill Park. According to NPark site, this beautiful tree has a girth of 3.4 metres and a height of 10 metres. Heritage trees nomination is opened to public, then inspected and chosen by arborists and the Heritage Tree Panel. The program aims to conserve and promote appreciation of our natural heritage

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The branches spread so far out from the trunk that a vertical support was put in place to prevent breakage….

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The tree is native to Madagascar and the name came from the flaming-red flowers that cover the entire crown when they are in full bloom, usually after a prolonged dry spell and lasting only a few days. One of the Chinese common name to the tree actually translates to “Fire Tree”. Wow, so what we were seeing was not even half as spectacular!

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The flowers possess a prominent uppermost petal, which is streaked yellow and white

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But we also realised some have lesser or no white on the uppermost petal….

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The flowers give way to long, flat pods (up to 50 cm long) that hang down from the branches…This one has dried and split up already….

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Oooo…how cute….this should be the young compound leaves…

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Yeah….this is how it grows….

Strangely, after seeing this magnificent Flame of the Forest tree, Itchyfingers found at least another six or seven small trees, all flowering but less spectacular….I think most of us didn’t realise they are still around cos either the flowers didn’t bloom that often or maybe they are too tall for us to take notice…I think we should really try to slow down our pace and look around us more often, so as to discover the many beautiful trees around us… 🙂

Also see related post:
> Flame of the Forest – Woody Woodpecker #4

Experience the Power!

May 21, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Last Sunday, Itchyfingers finished our fifth edition of the Home Team NS Real Run at Sentosa Island. It was the second time we ran the Real Run at Sentosa, and this time it was a bigger challenge cos we were supposed to run on three, instead of two, stretches of beaches…

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The illustration for the ending point was not so accurate here – it should be shifted a little to the left, as it seems like we would have to cross the line and then continue to run the last stretch of sand…hahah….Total distance for the beach is around 1.9km, close to 2km….

We reached quite early and I decided that I wanna go nearer to the starting line, so that by the time I finished, it would not be too hot…It proved to be a wise decision…if, only I could just run a little faster….we shall come to that later…

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Tisu Girl happily stretching….

Horn sounded! It was to be upslope all the way! I tried to keep a consistent pace….

Soon it was the first stretch of sand at Tanjong Beach…The beach was flatter but at certain stretch we still had to negotiate the slight slope. Always not easy to run on soft sand cos your feet will sink in and it takes more effort to lift them up. You may also suffer a sprained ankle if you are not careful. A short break from the first beach and very soon we were welcomed by another long stretch at Palawan Beach. I found myself getting slower and slower…but I was not going to stop and walk!!

Around 6km or so after emerging from some trails with lots of turnings, we were greeted with this: a very spectacular view of the luxurious waterfront residential complex, Reflections at Keppel Bay. But it was also overshadowed by thick gloomy clouds. Gosh! Seemed like it would rain soon….I should have stopped and take a photo of that….

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Photo credit: Home TeamNS Real Club Facebook page

Between 7 to 8 km it was a nice change of downslope! But I didn’t manage to make full use it to speed up as my energy level was being depleted after the many upslopes and two stretches of sand…

When I finally made it closed to 9km, suddenly huge drops of water started beating hard on our skin! There was absolutely no warning, it just started to pour so heavily! Luckily there was no lightning! A while later, I reached the last and final stretch of sand at Silso Beach…Gosh! It looked so long….Nobody was complaining…we all just pushed on! Even the volunteers were still standing around! Less than half way through the beach we were all drenched from top to bottom! It was the first time I ran in such heavy rain, totally wet! Even though it rained at the last Great Eastern Women Run, it was considered light drizzle and also intermittent. Nothing compared to this! This was indeed the REAL RUN, where you have to negotiate slopes, roads, trails, sand and the heavy rain!!!!! Wet sand was no easier than dry one…I kept pushing and running as fast as I could, the water kept dripping down my face and I gotta fight against drinking the rain water by wiping them away. Good thing I worn a cap, otherwise it would be  even tougher to see where I was going.

Finally, crossed the finishing line! Not good result but it was my best Real Run timing…1:12 hour. Was a bit disappointed to see no photographers around to capture our wet looks…hahah….all went hiding from the rain? Or maybe they were there but I didn’t see cos the rain obstructed my vision?

Anyway, since I was already all wet, I didn’t bother to run for the nearest shelter anymore. Instead, I joined the others for the queue to collect our medals and drinks…People around me were still in high spirit, even joking about having free shower…hahah…My phone in the pouch was all wet now, so I didn’t take it out to shoot any photos…

The downpour came swiftly and stopped equally quick. Barely five minutes after I took shelter at a game booth after collecting my medal, it stopped completely. It was then I met up with Tisu Boy, who finished before the rain started….Was surprised my free phone was still working after taking a shower in the rain….

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Not only did he finish before the rain started pouring, Tisu Boy also managed to complete the tough course under an hour, giving him extra time to pause and take this photo before crossing the finishing line….How jealous! Just look at the curtain of cloud! If only I could just run a little faster!

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Could only pose for this photo after the rain stopped….

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Look what these guys were doing?

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Wahahah….The heavy rain made the backdrop unstable in the sand, so these guys were struggling to hold it up….

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They gave up, and laid the backdrop on the sand….Poor winners would not have any nice backdrop for their photos…But I guess coconut trees look nice too!

A very nice ending to the tough and wet run was this….

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Rainbow!!!!! A complete arc some more! It is not so common to see a complete arc in our urbanised city with so many buildings around unless you are in an open area….

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And it was not just one, but two rainbows one on top of the other!!!!! Wow! I wanna sing song….”Somewhere over the rainbow, sky are blue…”

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As usual, the medal…

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Back…

Also see related posts:
> Running for Real
> Keeping it Real for Real Runners
The Ultimate X-Terrain Challenge – New Balance Real Run 2010

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