Saturday, October 16, 2010

Love By All Beings

Being a city person in those earlier years of my life, I had never encounter a tree that bears such addictive sweet juicy fruits that look like cherries until I began my worklife on an island known as Tuba in Langkawi. 

My first response to that first taste - hmm... yummm! And so I was introduced to this tree in Malay language call "Pokok Ceri" (Cherry Tree) by my ex-colleague. I had tasted cherries before but those were the ones that I usually took them off the birthday cakes and straight into my mouth when no one is looking. Those birthday cakes cherries look big and very red but their taste are nothing as compared to those "Pokok Ceri".

Who else likes them?


Your may say this to me - "What? Where have you been in your childhood years? These trees are so common that they are found growing in gardens, in front of houses and beside the roads in urban areas." Yes, I was a typical city person and very much oblivious to plants around me in those years.

This is how the entire Jamaica Cherry Tree (Muntingia calabura) looks like. Shrubby, messy and boring. However, this tree is an excellent shade provider. To me, this is a 2-in-1 tree. It acts as an "umbrella", when someone needs a shelter from the hot scorching sun  and a "snack" corner (when it is fruiting).


The petals of the flowers are plain white with yellow stamens.
Immature flower

The comtemporary love partners ...
The Pollinators
A stingless bee visitation

From flower to young fruit...
Immature cherry

to my "competitors"...
                             
 A male Brown-Throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) sneaking behind the leaves
His "partner", the female Brown-Throated sunbird was also spotted sneaking behind those leaves
This male Brown Throated sunbird poking on a cherry

                      A "punctured" cherry made by the bird and left aside. What a waste!
Male Orange-bellied flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma) watching

According to Verheij 1991, the Jamaica cherry is indigneous to South-Central America and the Caribbean. It is believe that the Portuguese were the distributors of this fruit, which was probably first carried to Thailand or Vietnam and then subsequently spread to Malaysia.

A foreign fruit tree which is easy to plant, grows quickly and love by the locals here including the birds.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Wchinner, Good to hear you're blogging again! Although I'm a "city-person", this tree reminds me of Kampung life. I didn't know that the cherries are edible but I did noticed children using it as a "bullets" for homemade "sling-shots" or "lastik".

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi JK;
    Thanks for checking in.

    This morning I saw a lady plucking this cherry for a young girl who can't reach the fruit. A nasi lemak stall was next to that Jamaica cherry tree. That was nice to see.

    You should try tasting the cherry. Is yummy. Make sure you check for any bird's droppings before you pop it into your mouth.

    "Bullets" heh? Yup, the ripe cherries are soft.

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  3. I used to see them in my hometown Taiping. Really out of the landscape of my mind !! I'm sure the birds adore them. I grow the ardesia elliptica for the birds in my garden but not enough visit as the tree is laden.

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  4. My favourite tooo! Childhood and now!

    actually, as mentioned above, there is a 3rd use, fun!

    The unripe fruits with the stem plucked off become ammunition for blowpipes, and

    Those with the stem in place make a good spinning top for little young children, As thought to me by my dad! (PSP and Nintendo DS wielders of this generation are SO losing out)

    Nice pictures of the birds!
    I'm pretty sure you've upgraded your camera! hehe

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  5. Hi Keats The Sunshine Girl;
    Is the ardesia elliptica nice to eat?

    Hi Raoul;
    Yesterday, some friends of mine were talking about the extinction of our childhood traditional games. How ironic! Parents now are buying kids with PSP, ipads, etc. Gone are the days when kids used to play skipping ropes, bottlecaps, pepsi-cola, police & thief, etc.

    I think you are the last generation of youth that played those games...?

    Thanks for my pics of birds. I was using the same camera, Canon Powershot, which as upgraded a year ago.

    ReplyDelete

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