Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pacific Natives on this Atlantic Coast

I am halfway across the world in Florida, yet it seems I could not get out of the thesis state of mind. I have my trusty notebook cum sketch pad with me but i had not opened it up to add to the sketches i should be making for my thesis. But even here in the eastern side of the New World, there are a lot of native Philippine plants used in the local landscape scene. Actually in garden shops and centers I visited (I am helping my sister spruce up her small garden), the plant selections are almost the same as the ones that are available back home.

Some of the Pinoy native plants I saw in this side of the Atlantic:

The famous Manila palm or Adonidia merrillii (bungang china) is used as street plant in my sister's community. I read somewhere that in some areas in Florida the Manila palm is having a hard time to adapt. But in sunny but a bit cold West Palm Beach they grow well.

A plant I could easily recognize from afar is the Mexican Firecracker plant (Clerodendrum quadriculare). The Philippine native bagawak probably ot its English common name probably by the route of the Philippines to Mexico galleon trade. This plant brings out its showy long flower clusters in the winter months.

Another easy to identify plant is the very widespread Ficus benjamina or ornamental fig. This is called salisi in the Philippines and is also native to a lot of other Asian countries. In the US this plant is a popular indoor plant because of its fine and glossy leaves.

On the way to my niece's swimming lessons, I spotted a long grove of Hibiscus tiliaceus or malobago which is abundant along coastlines of the Philippines and neighboring Asian nations. The large yellow (which later turn to maroon) standout from the broad glossy leaves.

The church where my sister attends mass had a few dapdap trees in its compound. the big Erythrina variegata was being trimmed by the gardeners to maintain itas a small tree. but a full grown dapdap is actually a very large tree with distinct leaves and branching.

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