16 June 2013


I have not written for a while since the post on the flowering Tabebuia chrysantha but when I do, it's because there was some flowering phenomenon again in May 13. 

This time round, it was located at the Golden Garden area near to the Victoria Lily pond. It is a part of the gardens that is not often visited right now by many public visitors because of its obscure location partially hidden by the construction hoardings around the Children's Garden.

A row of flowering Cassia x nealiae trees are planted on the outer edge of the footpath around the pond. Known commonly as the Rainbow Shower Tree, this National Tree of Honolulu is supposedly an ornamental hybrid between the more common yellow flower Cassia fistula and the pink flower Cassia javanica. At its flowering peak following a hot and dry spell, the tree may shed all its leaves and be covered with clusters of pendulous pinkish-red floral buds and yellow-pinkish flowers.

Other than the Rainbow Shower Tree, I saw the pink flowers of the amazing Victoria amazonica water lily, which is the largest water lily in the Family Nymphaeaceae. Once named after Queen Victoria, this Giant Water Lily is native to the Amazon River. The flowers first open white at night and emit a strong fragrance that attracts its pollinators - the night beetles. After pollination, the flowers turn pink by the next night. Another interesting feature of this water lily is the large round leaves which may reach up to 3 m in diameter. The rolled up young leaf is heavily covered with spines on its reddish underside to protect itself against fishes and other creatures e.g. terrapins, that try to feed on it. As the leaf slowly unfurls itself and grows, it becomes stiffer and tougher. Hence, it is not uncommon to find photos of the giant leaves supporting a baby or child at its center because they have been documented to support more than 100 kg when fully grown.