My friend Ronald Achacoso has been telling me tales of a lone tree that he found in the last open areas of Project 8, Quezon City. He said that the tree might be a native tree and has very showy pendant flowers. Its identity eluded him till last year when he finally exclaimed that the tree he suspects to be Barringtonia racemosa or putat.
Upon learning of his tree suspicion, I immediately took interest. If it is putat, it native and most probably could be found in a wet area. I have seen Barringtonia racemosa before in Singapore but have not seen it in Manila (though I first saw a specimen in a deep creek in Dasmarinas, Cavite). We kept on planning to go to where Ronald saw the solitary putat. We never got to visit the place, till last December.
When the day came, I got up at 8 am and met up with Ronald to drive to the place. Since we both live in Quezon City, I expected that we reach the putat tree an hour or so. Our trip commenced entering a small alley along EDSA to a congested community area in Project 8. As we made our way deeper, the road width became narrower. To my surprise, the confinement opened up into small patches of wet areas and rice paddies, this in between heavy residential areas. Ronald tells me theses are remnants or the Quezon City wetlands at the bounday of Novaliches and Project 8. But even the remaining open lots are being reclaimed. topped with concrete fill.
In no time at all we reached our tree goal. The putat tree was a moderate size one growing out of a paved area. The tree roots are restricted by the asphalt road at one side. But the putat still displays its glory as the branches still had remnants of the pendant flowers. I took pictures of this last tree and we tried to spot some other specimens in the area. There were none. It appears that the tree is becoming endangered as is the open wetlands in the area. We talked to some residents and made it obvious to them our amusement to finding the tree. Hopefully they get the picture that we would want to find the tree again if we have the chance to return.
Putat is a very nice medium size tree for the landscape, usually planted along wet areas. Though the putat could still be found common in most provinces especially Palawan, the continuous degradation of our waterways pose a threat to its habitat. Also a lot of places were named after it, like Putatan, meaning it was once a place abundant with putat (Putatan in Taguig City is said to be found in the area noe Fort Bonifacio and I fear that no putat could be found in that area anymore).
We collected 4 fallen fruits and hope that they germinate to continue the legacy of the last sole QC putat tree.