Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Magtungaw Revealed!

The pretty pink flowers of Syzygium merritianum or magtungaw
Tree has full canopy
I have a popular post about the magtungaw tree of Sibuyan Island before.  I said it is probably Syzygium alcinae, which botanist Ulysses Ferreras at the very start doubted. But then again there was no literature to confirm the identity of the so called magtungaw tree in Romblon. 

When Uly and Ronald Achacoso went to Sibuyan this year, they found that there were actually more than just one species called magtungaw on the island. Further, a majority of the native Syzygium species in the area and neighboring islands were either called magtungaw and mangkaasim (which is officially Syzygium nitida but attached to a few more other species). But the identity of magtungaw eluded both. They took new pictures of the magtungaw tree.  

Flowers contrast with the nice foliage
Last Saturday I chanced upon Uly in U.P. Diliman and he was ecstatic to exclaim he finally found the true identity of the unknown Syzygium, a feat because there are probably more than 200 plus species of Syzygium native in the Philippines and he had to rummage through all its records.. He says that magtungaw is Syzygium merritianum.

The next day I also got the eureka text from Ime Sarmiento, who was also very happy to finally learn magtungaw's proper botanic identity from Uly. But she was humoring the sound of magtungaw's official vernacular name, which is tomolad hehehe. She said magtungaw is better sounding. But one thing is clear, magtungaw or tomolad is a darn fine species to use for landscape with the bright pink flowers. I would be happy to introduce it in any local garden.

Ime Sarmiento sent me the new magtungaw pictures which was probably taken by the team who went to Sibuyan. So again, magtungaw is finally Syzygium merritianum!

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