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…

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

tree2
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

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

flame
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!

flower2
The flowers possess a prominent uppermost petal, which is streaked yellow and white

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

pod
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….

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

compound-leaves
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

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