Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Flower to the Nth Power

The Palawan cherries are in flower! This tree is probably the nearest we could have to approximate the cherry blossoms of Japan. It is fondly called balayong by the people of Palawan and they have a festival named after it to celebrate its season of bloom, which is about now.

Palawan cherry is actually a paradox. There are certain aspects of it being argued and one of it is its name. For one its common name is a misnomer. The Palawan cherry is not a close relative of the Japanese cherry blossoms, but it is actually nearer in association with the legumes or the likes of acacia, narra, kamatsile, ipil and tindalo. Why it was named such is that it flowers fully with pink blossoms covering the whole entirety of the tree, much like a cherry blossom. Cherry blossom (several species of Prunus - we have native Prunus but not as showy as the Japanese counterparts) could not grow in tropical climates like in the Philippines.

Field botanist Leonard Co tells us that balayong is Cassia nodosa, a species native also to the island of Java, in Indonesia. In fact Mr. Co also states that Palawan cherry is not a native but rather prehistorically introduced to Palawan. But on the other hand, Dr. Madulid's Plant-cyclodia states that it is Cassia x Palawan Cherry, x meaning it is a hybrid between two or more species, a none pure species. I am not certain which species are claimed to be the balayong's parents, but most probably if this is factual, the Cassia nodosa is prime suspect.

There are a lot of balayongs in Palawan which is why it is arguedto be native to the island. If you are in Quezon City and would love to see specimens in flower, the trees lining the main road inside Manila Seedling bank are in full bloom. If you ride the MRT train coming from Makati, look over to your right, after the Quezon Avenue Station to see a bird's eye view of them. If you are in Manila, you could ride the Metro Ferry and view the specimens lining Malacanang Palace on the Pasig River side. Only draw back is that you won't get to take pics of it in this route.

18 comments:

Maricar said...

Oh. I didn't know we had cherries growing in our country! Cherry blossoms are a wonderful sight. Saw one in Washington DC.

Christian said...

I could use your help. Any idea where Palawan Cherry Blossom can be purchased?. Thanks very much.

Christian said...

There's not much info from the internet. Can the Palawan Cherry Blossom grow and blossom in Marikina?

metscaper said...

yes they can. they probably sell seedlings at manila seedling bank foundation.

Loreli said...

May I know where I can buy balayong seedlings?

B-boys rule said...

hi im from Cebu and i was hoping where i could buy seeds here in cebu for this tree i would really want to have one of these trees at home . . . .

metscaper said...

sorry. the only places i know you could get hem is seedling bank in qc and palawan itself.

jugo03 said...

hi guys!

I planted a Palawan Cherry (the Php 150 variant in Manila Seedling Bank) in our lot recently.

Later that day, I decided to check it out, the leaves were already dry and curling in. I don't know what happened. As far as I know, the soil itself was already full of nutrients since there was a lot of decaying matter. Plants were sprouting everywhere.

I researched about the causes of dry leaves and I found out that there's such a thing as transplant shock.

I'm actually angry at the guy who gave me the tree. He removed the tree from its original soil base, thus, exposing the roots. I just found out now that removing the roots from its soil can kill the tree.

Will my 5-feet Palawan Cherry Tree survive? What can I do to help my tree survive?

Hope to hear from any of you!

Thank you.

caremikenluisa said...

This is wonderful information. We never thought cherry blossom-like tree is in the Philippines. We have so much to be proud of as our flora and fauna are really worth-telling worldwide.

Thanks! I (Luisa) am proud to be a Filipina.

mike said...

Have been wondering about a tree fronting our house that looks like a cherry blossom at certain months......I livein Leyte but Im almost sure it is the Palawan Cherry based on ur pictures.. The tree is quite interesting as it is the only tree of that kind in this area..

pinay bargainista said...

hello. like mike we also had a tree at the back of our room here in Samar that resembles a cherry blossom tree. We first noticed it last holy week. The leaves are all gone and what remains are small pink flowers on the branches. Not so sure what the name and how we can possibly propagate it.

Hope you can help. You can email me aat dyaninamey@gmail.com

Thanks. :)

Penny Lane said...

Hello,

Do you know where can I buy Balayong seeds/seedlings online? HELP!

Louie Robert C. Posadas said...

Kaya nakaka-proud maging Palaweno eh. HAHA.

annmariemarie . said...

So this is how they look like when they bloom! It was my first time in PPC last July and I was impressed with the tree-lined main road (despite the bad traffic). Next time I should go there in March/April.

I am so glad to have found your blog! Whenever I travel around our islands, I start to realize how little I know about our native trees. Now I know where to get the information I need!

EWMC Legazpi City said...

what are the differences b/w palawan cherry and cherry blossom? i thought they were the same species...

gundoy said...

Thankyou for sharing information about this tree.
I saw one tree with beautiful blossoms in tagaytay
(ligaya drive near mariapolis center) and asked the caretaker of the house for seeds. He had no idea if the tree had seeds.
He looked around and saw a man walking up towards us. He was wearing a straw hat, rubber boots, had a bolo hanging by his left thigh, and a chicken under his arm. Perhaps assuming he was a farmer, the caretaker asked him if he knew how to propagate the tree. With one squinting look, he yelled across the street, "SANGA!".
So I asked for cuttings. I planted it in tagaytay hoping that it will take root soon.
I hope the farmer didn't say "tanga" because for a moment I thought he did.

Miss Galaxy said...

Hi! Can the palawan cherry be grown as bonsai? Will it bloom?

Lani said...

Hi, saw a tree that looked like the Japanese cherry blossoms, at the garden of the Makati Shangrila today, as seen from the gym. However, upon comparing with the balayong you talk about in this blog, it does not seem to be the same. It is more similar to the one mentioned by another blogger here, with pictures: http://pinaybargainista.blogspot.jp/2012/04/seeing-pink-cherry-blossoms-philippine.html

this lady as well is wondering what it is, since she also thinks it is not the Palawan cherry blossom.
Does anyone know