Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Parkia Speciosa (or better known as Petai)

It (Parkia tree) is beautifully shaped, like a great flat-topped umbrella. It’s leaves are doubly compound, like feathers. It’s bark is smooth but not too smooth, in some species dotted with red. But most glorious of all are the flowers, pompoms of stamens and styles, bright red or pale yellow or bronze depending on species, that hang from on high on long thin threads like Christmas baubles.

The topmost flowers in each inflorescence are sterile, with copious nectar, which begins to flow early in the morning. By mid morning the first flowers begin to open, and all of them are open by mid afternoon. At dusk, the flowers begin to release their pollen. Then the bats come. By morning all nectar has gone, the filaments that bear the anthers have wilted, and the flowers have faded. One of nature’s most glorious shows lasts only one night. Showbiz is not the point. Replication and multiplication is the point. One night is enough.

*Excerpt from The Secret Life Of Trees. LOVE the title.

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