Friday, March 27, 2009

Eugenia polyantha trees

Roadside planting having eugenia trees on road shoulders. The central median is planted with royal palms.
Location: Tanjung Batu Coastal Road, Bintulu.
Bintulu roads that are planted with the Eugenia polyantha trees are looking beautiful today. The flowering season is back after a lapse of about 6-7 months. The locals know these trees as 'Ubah Laut'. In Sarawak the Ubah Laut trees are naturally found in peat-swamp forests. However over the last ten years they have been propagated by the thousands through seeds that are in abundance after every flowering season. It's only recently that these trees are frequently seen on urban roads, residential houses and parks throughout Sarawak.

Along this stretch of the Tanjung Batu Coastal Road, eugenia trees are also planted at the central median, where they are heavily pruned and trained as topiary plants. The Eugenia polyantha plant can be 'boxed' or 'bonsaied' because they are essentially a small tree having a slow growing habit. I was impressed by its enveloping creamy white flowers that seem to overwhelm its small compact crown. From its relatively unglamourous swampy origins, the tree is now enjoying a very versatile living in town and in private residences.

The inflorescences appear at the tip of the branches. The creamy white puffy flowers will last for about one to two weeks. The inflorescences do not have petals but instead a concentration of stamens that appear like feathery white balls. The tree will gradually be enveloped in white when it is at the peak of the flowering season. Leaves appear orangish red when young.

At my eco-farm, I have planted them along the farm roads. The main reason I chose them as roadside trees is that the tree is very attractive to birds due to its black berry-like fruits. Furthermore, its dense coverprovides fantastic nesting places for small birds.

This row of eugenia trees have been planted for more than 5 years now and this year's flowering season have produced hundreds of flowering trees at my farm.
Today I am inspired to develop ideas about the eugenia inflorescences. Below are sketches that might help illlustrate some ideas that came across my mind this morning.

I find that the tiny round buds can be graphically rendered in a stylised form. The graphic images can be used for eco-design patterns or ethnic art images that convey arboriginal, native or folklore connotations.


Protege said...

These flowers remind me of dandelions after blooming.;))
Your sketches are very interesting.
Hope you are having a great weekend.;)

tabbydan said...

Have you tried the fruits? What do they taste like? Eugenia / Syzygizum has tons of edible fruits