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N. Sivasothi,
a.k.a. Otterman,
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Mon 12 Oct 2009

Flowering Sea Apple trees in October

Category : nature

Sea apples or Jambu Air Laut (Syzygium grande, previously known as Eugenia grandis) are flowering in south-western Singapore this past couple of weeks - I first noticed a tree in full bloom at the Labrador cliff forest last week when I was there with a class. Walking along a corridor in NUS, I noticed another flowering tree on Kent Ridge. A chorus of feeding birds alerted me to a third tree a day later at Holland Village.

Synchronous flowering is demonstrated in many species of trees in the aseasonal tropical forests of Asia and these can flower over much larger area than the island of Singapore! Along our roads, Sea Apple trees are highly noticeable as they are a common wayside tree planted in many areas around Singapore. Flowering makes the tree prominent all of a sudden, much like Cinderella at the ball.

Two years ago, I posted a note to Habitatnews: "[Synchronous flowering of Sea Apple (Syzygium grande) trees around Singapore," Habitatnews, 16 Oct 2007]. In that note, was a link to Subaraj's observation of October 2005 at Sime Forest. So does Syzygium grande flower regularly in October? I am sure the old botanists of old in Singapore have remarked upon this previously; if you look it up, do let me know in the comments below.

Labrador rocky shore, 07 Oct 2009

Kent Ridge, 08 Oct 2009

Holland Village, 09 Oct 2009

Since flowers and fruits attract birds and insects, you can spend a satisfying morning near such trees with a pair of binoculars or camera.

When multiple species of wayside trees flower over a long period, this suggests a general flowering event and it is likely then that forest trees would be just as productive. Many a naturalist respond to this cue from our wayside trees by heading out with camera, binoculars and a guidebook or two!

Since I don't get around much, do let me know if Sea Apples are indeed flowering elsewhere in Singapore and the region - you can drop a note in the comments below and if you would, email me your photos at toddycats@gmail.com with:

  • location (as detailed as you can; a google maps URL would be lovely),
  • date and
  • your full name.

Photos will be added to the Flickr album with the 2007 photos - these photos are all released for non-commercial use so take note when sending me your photos. I am also plotting the locations of flowering Sea Apple trees on Google Maps - the map below will be updated as I add points; let's see how widespread this is.

Posted at 7:26AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news