Wednesday, July 1, 2009

XL-Sized Dipterocarp Seed

The other week, a friend handed me over a very big seed. He came from one of his forest expeditions and brought back a handful of the seeds for botanical uses. He gave some to members of the Philippine Native Plant Society to document if they could germinate in urban setting. I was fortunate to get one.

The seed was about the size of a walnut but has a very distinct feature, it had two very long wing appendages. The wing pair made the seed appear much bigger than it was. It is an apitong seed. Apitong is one of the pride trees of our Philippine forests, the towering dipterocarp trees. The word dipterocarp comes from the latin words meaning two winged seeds. I tried playing around with the seed, tossing it into the air and true enough the two wings made the seed gyrate to the ground, like a small helicopter toy. I have not planted the seed yet but I will place it in a clay pot and position in a very shaded area (mimicking the canopy shaded floor of the forest where they sprout). Hopefully it will germinate.

Apitong is Dipterocarpus grandiflorus (grand flowered dipterocarp) and is probably one if not the biggest of the dipterocarps. Most of our hardwoods come from cutting down these spectacular age old trees in our forests. If the cutting of these magnificent trees is not controlled, in a few years time the only apitong you could find might be the ones that would germinate from these collected seeds. Deserves another sigh!

5 comments:

Brokensaint said...

I think the seed looks pretty cool. never thought seeds could appear that way. This post is an eye opener. Save the apitong trees!

By the way, you are right to identify one of my plants as costus. sp. (#4). An expert in the flickr group identified it correctly as Costus malortieanus. Tnx

metscaper said...

well i hope they don't stop with just the apitong trees. we have forests full of exciting trees and most of them are threatened by this fact they are losing their habitat.

pinkygendrano said...

its not only the shade of the tropical forest that you should mimick to nurse the apitong seed. kelangan din ma-simulate yung humidity. better put it in your bathroom, he he.

metscaper said...

i did. actually i kinda forgot about the apitong seed. i ll try to check it out tomorrow morning.

Noyden said...

I used to remember an apitong tree, about 200-meters away from our house. It was more than 60 meter high with base trunk more than 2-meter in diameter but was struck by a lightning and dead after a week... my uncle said that it is bad luck to use the lumber for the house because of this incident... Some of its lumbers were donated to our Catholic parish church in our hometown.

How I wished we still have at least 10 of that still alive...

On the other hand, I am planning to buy seedlings of apitong and plant several including red/white lauan for our future generation... thanks, regards and God bless.