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B8: Dendro-series! Tree of the month: Angsana Tree

[ Hanafiee Azlee, 25 August 2021 ]

Are you guys ready for another tree of the month? This tree is filled with beautiful fragrant flowers that attract birds and other vertebrates. The crown of the tree is so big that it is used for shelter. Do you want to try and make a guess? Okay, the title of the blog spoilt it, but our next contestant is the famous Angsana tree! I am pretty sure that you guys have stumbled upon this tree at some point in your life. It is literally everywhere in our neighbourhood. Beside the parking lot, along the roads, right across the fitness corner.

One of the tree species is located at the road verge of Upper Serangoon Road, between Woodleigh Park and Woodleigh Close. There is one that is located to where my humble abode is. That Angsana tree will always bring me good memories and I can never forget the beauty it brings to my life. That tree will always have a special place in my heart but before we get into the emotional aspect of this blog, let me explain to you the beauty of the Angsana tree!

Angsana tree, A.K.A Pterocarpus indicus

Angsana tree is a huge tree! It can grow as tall as 40 meters tall in height! It has a trunk that measures up to 2 meters wide. The leaves are 12–22 cm long with 5–11 leaflets. The flowers are produced in panicles 6–13 cm long containing a few to numerous flowers. Flowering is from February to May in the Philippines, Borneo, and the Malay peninsula.

Leaves of Angsana tree

The Angsana tree in Singapore can bloom all year. The flowers are slightly fragrant and have yellow or orange-yellow petals. The fruit of the tree is so unique. The way it grows is unlike any other fruits you’d see every day. It has a wing-like structure, which aids dispersal by the wind. It contains one or two seeds and does not split open at maturity. The fruit becomes purple when dry.

Since, I have briefly described how Angsana tree would, scientifically, look like, let’s move on to the uses! Its wood is used for furniture and construction purposes. It is suitable for high-grade furniture and plywood for light construction purposes. Commercially known as Narra, Angsana wood can be used for wood carving and musical instruments but it is commonly used in the furniture industry. The flower of Angsana is used as a honey source for pollinating agents, such as Bees. The leaves are supposedly good for waxing and polishing brass and copper metals. They can also be used to treat kidney damage. They contain flavonoids, antioxidants that are beneficial to the human body. During our forefather’s time, they were used to combat tumors! Nature has never ceased to make me in awe with its beauty and functionality.

The bark of an Angsana tree

Angsana trees play a huge role in urban forests. They maintain the fertility of the ecosystem and soil stability. It is a plant that has the ability to fix nitrogen by forming a very close relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, to help transform nitrogen into a usable form for biochemical processes. This version of nitrogen is the core component of plant structures and for both their internal and external metabolic processes. Plants are required to manufacture the complex molecules through metabolism activities to survive by use of minerals from the soil that contain nitrogen such as nitrate ions. It is always the most simplistic-looking being that does the most complicated work.

So, what’s my issue with the Angsana tree? Well, it is the first tree that helped me in cultivating my interest in plants, specifically trees. This goes way back to when I was still in secondary school. This huge tree would always be in my sight, to and fro. Every time I go back to school and after I stepped out of my house, I would always take some time to admire this beautiful tree. Sending love from a certain distance. I, meticulously, look at the tree’s structure and had many thoughts. It gave me this butterfly feeling, every time I look at it. That curiosity. That craving. That was when I realised about my curiosity with how nature functions, which led me here.

Ergo, did curiosity really kill a cat or did it bring a whole new meaning to its life


Photos were taken at Woodlegih Park

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