Sunday, February 22, 2009

deciduous tree in the tropics




we learnt in our geography lessons in school that trees which shed their leaves are called deciduous trees. we also learnt that such trees are found in temperate countries and they start shedding their leaves in autumn, so by winter they will be bare.

deciduous trees shed their leaves for a part of every year. unlike evergreens, deciduous trees lose their leaves during the cold or dry season, depending on the climate, and remain bare until they grow new leaves each spring.

in tropical countries, during prolonged dry periods the foliage of some trees is dropped to conserve water and prevent death from drought. leaf drop is not seasonally dependent as it is in temperate climates, and can occur any time of year and varies by region of the world. even within a small local area there can be variations in the timing and duration of leaf drop.

i know of one type of tree in singapore that does this. it is the sea almond or the ketapang tree. the broad leaves of this tree start turning pinkish-red or yellow-brown before they fall to the ground. some leaves on certain trees are riddled with small holes.

this time of the year - the dry period in february - i notice that quite a number of ketapang trees are becoming 'botak' (malay word for bald). the other day, when i was at the coast near the bottletree village, i came across this tree (pictured above) that was almost completely stripped of leaves.

i have a feeling that sweepers and park attendants do not have a liking for the ketapang tree. however, these leaves, which are so plentiful here, seem to have some use for aquarium fish owners. in fact, someone advertised to sell them here.

i have found out that there is at least another type of deciduous tree in singapore. it is the broad leaf mahogany tree.

the ketapang tree with young leaves

4 comments:

doris said...

go collect the leaves and export to seller yg. you are doing the sweepers a favour and getting rewarded in return.

yg said...

doris, my $$$ problem is solved already. don't need to live on wishful thinking of the grand toto prize i could have won. now all i need to do is to collect these leaves and sell them @ maybe $5 for a packet of ten (leaves).

nah said...

Ketapang leaves are used by fish hobbyist as a water conditioner to create a natural environment for their tropical fishes. These are the leaves that tan the blackwater streams in the forest where bettas, discus and arrowanas are found.
These leaves have antibacterial properties, and are used to promote healing and breeding. Bettas are known to be induced to spawn by just putting a few of the leaves into their tank. It is also used to heal the skin and prevent infections of this fighting fish after bouts of fights. It has also been used to cure arrowanas with open gills.

Victor said...

Watch this video which tells you how autumn really happens.