Sunday, November 04, 2007

A rare nut

So, the other day we were at the East Coast Park beach playing with the sand when Josh picks up a "brain", well a hard fruit the size of a lime that look much like a brain. It took me a while before I did a double take and realised, my goodness, he had picked up a rare legume... a legume is the fruit of a member of the bean family.. That family of plants basically contains the peanut, soya beans, rain trees, in essence anything that has a pod, to be more accurate, a legume. the legume is a fruit that has 2 valves that will split along a line and reveal beans, which essentially are seeds. A pod is more layman and can be applied loosely to other fruits.

Anyway, what josh had picked up was a rare native of Singapore called Cynometra ramiflora L. var. ramiflora, its an inhabitant of back mangroves, which basically means, somewhere behind the mangroves where the ground isn't so muddy anymore and resembles an inland forest.

Why rare? When I revised the group for the Flora of Singapore, I listed it as "probably extinct", following a previous status accorded to it by other botanists. After a few years, someone else spotted it along one of the offshore islands and so it became extant in Singapore with at least one or two mature individual. So it was really great that a few more years later, Josh simply picked up the legume from the strand line along the east coast park beach.

Here's Josh presenting the rare legume. He had inadvertently picked it up and brought it to the at first unappreciative local authority on the Caesalpinioid legumes of Singapore.

This is Matt contemplating the size of the fruit. Its hard and corky so definitely buoyant. I am not sure where it came from though but at least it is here.

I looked around the strand line for more of the fruit and found another. How serendipitous.

Photo 180.jpg
Here's my botanical illustration of the species, from Loo, A.H.B. & H.T.W. Tan, 1997. The Angiosperm Flora of Singapore Part 6 --Caesalpiniaceae. Gardens' Bulletin, Singapore, 49: 55–106.


Brandon said...

Do you think it could have come from Johore? Since the seed is buoyant that might be its mode of dispersal....

lekowala said...

Yeah a high probablity. I remember someone spotting the tree in Tekong, so may be from there as well.