Thursday, January 6, 2011

January flowering trees of Bintulu ( Part 1) - Golden Penda

Flowering Golden Penda trees along a small road near Kampung Assyakirrin, Bintulu. The bright pinkish red flowers next to it are the flowers of the Crepe flower ( Lagerstroemia indica)

This year the month of December has been memorable in that my occasional visits to the 'Tamu' or jungle produce market and night markets in Bintulu are not met with the rich display of seasonal fruits. No, sadly enough there aren't any smell of the ever popular durians, langsat, rambutans, dabai, cempedak or ong lumok and many other local end of year fruits. As is normal the fruit season will continue till January or even February. But will there be any fruit stalls selling seasonal fruits in the night markets this month is a big guessing and waiting game for many lovers of local fruits throughout Sarawak. If it did not happen in December, will January bring in the cheers? The very wet weather it is thought by many experienced farmers to have caused poor flowering which resulted in extremely poor harvest of local durians and other seasonal fruits. Be as it may, I feel delighted today as I drive along many small roads here to see the exuberant golden flowers of the Golden Penda trees ( Xanthostemon chrysantus). At the inset is a close-up of the flowers. The long stamens appear like fireworks in the night sky. The Golden Penda comes from the Family - Myrtaceae or the Myrtle family of which the common edible ones are the guava ( Psidium guajava) and the Malay apple ( Syzygium malaccense) . While the guava and the Malay apple originates from Malaysia and Indonesia, the Golden Penda's origins are said to be from Australia. Golden Pendas are grown in Bintulu mainly for its ornamental value being a small compact tree with abundant masses of golden yellow flowers.
Ten years ago the Golden Penda was never seen in Bintulu. Thus it must have been introduced to Bintulu between 5-6 years ago. But whatever its origin and its late popularity, the Golden Penda has begun to show its true colours this January.

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