Sunday, February 14, 2010

And I Finally Came Across Ligas!

Have you ever heard what Cruz na Ligas in U.P. was named after? I always thought the ligas meant ligaw, or lost in English. So I thought the place was named after a lost cross...or something like that. Apparently ligas is a name of a very handsome but slightly dangerous tree, Semecarpus cuneiformis.

When I started looking for trees in UP Diliman, one of the first I asked Mr. Emiliano Sotalbo was the location of this arborescent species, which the Cruz na Ligas name suggests should be present in the campus. But the only specimen Mr. Sotalbo knew was located in the Arboretum, and when we reached the place where it should have been, the ligas was nowhere to be found. He suspects that the tree was fallen, either by forces of nature or in human hands. So ligas has eluded me eversince.Yesterday I stumbled upon a specimen in Novaliches, at the La Mesa watershed. Leonard Co pointed it out to us among the brush.

Ligas is quite a small tree but somehow similar in appearance to kasoy (Anacardium occidentale, which is not native). The fruit is said to be edible, but some parts of the tree could be quite a pill to handle. I have not yet confirmed if it is the sap that is an irritant, which could inflict quite an uncomfortable rash to its victims. But then again it is a member of the cashew family and related to the mango (which both are known to inflict slightly burning chemicals, the cashew has a potent poison which if not prepared or cooked properly could burn your mouth).

1 comment:

Ben Vallejo said...

The ligas tree was shaped as a cross thus the name Crus na Ligas