03 February 2011


I was snapping these photos yesterday evening and several passers-by and residents were looking in my direction to see what I was capturing on film. Well, it means nothing to those who are not interested in plants, but anyway I was taking the flowers of this tree commonly known as Indian Devil Tree, Pulai Tree or Blackboard Tree (Family: Apocynaceae).

It is known as the Indian Devil Tree because in the past, whenever there was this heavy strong scent in the air, the villagers did not know where it came from and associated it with the devil. It was only subsequently that with more knowledge came the understanding that the overpowering and intoxicating fragrance are from the flowers of this beautiful tree.

Anyway, 2 links on this tree are shown here and the 2nd link is especially interesting to read:
  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alstonia_scholaris
  2. http://windyskies.blogspot.com/2009/11/devils-fragrance.html
NB on 17 Feb 11: My colleague and I were discussing about whether this tree species flowers after a hot or cool stimulus. Most sources seemed to cite the former but from our experience, it seems to indicate the latter, including this recent bout of synchronized flowering. However, what is very certain is that it must be coupled with a wet season.