Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Barringtonia - Bito'On - Sea Poison Tree

I'm getting into this digital painting lark now, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

This is a crudely altered photo of a Barringtonia or bito'on tree flower.

The tree grows near the shore almost everywhere in the coastal areas of Island SE Asia and Oceania.

It's a wonderful shade tree, and when it's in the mood, produces these fabulous flowers, about three inches across, with a fan of stamens (pistils?) at dusk.

The next morning, they are moribund and abandoned on the ground, as this one was.

A lovely specimen of the tree used to grow in the churchyard in General Luna, but the holy Catholic vandals of that institution cleared it of this and several other beautiful trees.

But Barringtonia doesn't only produce flowers. The fruit look a bit like squared-off apples, and they're valuable. They float very well, so they're widely used as net-floats (and also as the way for Barringtonia to colonise new shorelines).

The area of their distribution is very, very near that of Austronesian languages, and of the natural distribution of coconuts.

And the flesh of the fruit is poisonous to fish. Don't fiddle about with big, bright yellow lures, just zap 'em.

See more about Barringtonia here : (Apologies if you don't go straight to the bookmark; I haven't updated this page for ages).

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