Thursday, April 23, 2009

Salute the Trees

Many a tree is found in the wood,
and every tree for its use is good;
some for the strength of the gnarled foot,
some for the sweetness of flowers or fruit;
some for shelter against the storm,
and some to keep the hearth-stone warm;
some for the roof and some for the beam,
and some for a boat to breast the stream; -
In the wealth of the wood since the world begun
the trees have offered their gifts to man,

But the glory of trees is more than their gifts:
"Tis a beautiful wonder of life that lifts,
fom a wrinkled seed in an earth-bound clod,
a column, an arch in the temple of God,
a pillar of power, a dome of delight,
a shrine of song, and a joy of sight !
Their roots are nurses of rivers in birth;
their leaves are alive with the breath of the earth;
they shelter the dwelling of man; and they bend
o'er his grave with the look of a loving friend.

I have camped in the whispering forest of pines,
I have slept in the shadow of olives and vines;
In the knees of an oak, at the foot of a palm
I have found good rest and slumber's balm.
And now, when the morning gilds the boughs
of the vaulted elm at the door of my house,
I open the window and make salute:
"God bless thy branches and feed thy root !
Thou hast lived before, live after me,
Thou ancient, friendly, faithfull tree."




Henry van Dyee

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Neptunia plena

Taxonomy

Neptunia plena are a member of the Mimosoideae subfamily of Fabaceae family(1).

When I first encountered this yellow 'Mimosa', I was thrilled to have discovered an exotic species. Obviously, I was wrong assuming that it is a Mimosa. However I was not entirely wrong, at least, as it is indeed a cousin of Mimosa, from Mimoseae tribe(2). Some even name it Mimosa plena, M. punctata, M. adenanthera, or M. lycopodioides as well as many other names (3) .

It is after a long time then I realized that it is actually Neptunia plena 假含羞草 , also known as Aquatic-Dead-and-awake. Thanks to 1001 Garden Plants in Singapore, 2nd Edition. It puzzled me though : who would plant it as a garden plant in the first place. No doubt that the flower is somehow pretty, but not till that extend of bringing it home ! I wouldn’t , for sure.


Distribution

Originated from the tropical America : Texas, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, West Indies, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay (2). It is now naturalized in tropical Asia (2), becoming a noxious weed, invasive and hard to eradicate.

Botany

Neptunia seems to be water-loving, perennial herbaceous shrub (3). Leaves evenly bipinnate, mildly sensitive to physical touch; glabrous stem; the flower is actinomorphic, numerous stamens, globorous ; pods dehisces when matured (4).