Sunday, June 10, 2012

Handkerchiefs in the air!

I came upon this tree about 15 years ago at En Esa's nursery in Sungai Buloh.  He knows the botanical names like the back of his hand. If he has to refer, he would bring out his much -loved thick tome on plants to double check some info. Sadly, he passed away more than a year ago or even longer. En Esa introduced the maniltoa or commonly known as handkerchief tree to me. A maniltoa  tree now stands in my garden. and years later, I gave a plant to my sis-in-law and it is thriving.

 Really, it is not an outstanding tree 'coz it is just leafy green. But catch it when the little 'spears' appear- light pink. They then grow longer and more prominently pinker. Look out for the unfolding and the 'handkerchiefs in the air!
 You have seen how a magician holds a kerchief with the thumb and forefinger gently grasping the cloth which falls like an inverted V before mesmerizing you with what's under it or whatever! If I 've described it nicely, then you've got the picture!!

 Day by day, the pink turns to a light yellow /green and lightly wrinkled leaves hang in the air, opening up and getting longer and longer, cascading . What appears are the leaves enclosed in the 'spear'. Day by day, Mother Nature does its wondrous work . Finally, what you'll see are green leaves. What a transformation!

When  you come across a maniltoa, it will strike you in the emergent stage. That I would say is its crowning glory.

Look skyward and you'll not fail to see a different shade 

See the 'spear' opening up - hiding  the tender leaves

No more tightly enclosed -  waiting to be set free!
Light green in contrast to the 'old' green leaves

Leaves turning to a light green

 In its glory!

Unravelling and getting longer -  the handkerchief look

The cluster of leaves (just about the middle of the picture)  is already spreading out to be like the rest

Sturdy trunk


  1. Really a very unique tree and very beautiful as the tiny leaves unfold. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I've never seen this before and am always fascinated by such greatness in nature. It's beautiful - somewhat of a stage show I would love to watch. Thanks for sharing this with us today.

  3. Very interesting tree... first time for me to see...

  4. Hello! I have not seen it before...Unique!

  5. I have never seen this tree before. The handkerchief-like leaf tree I have seen is the Cauliflower tree (yellow saraca). I think the handkerchief look like a pink bunga kantan bud and later it becomes a cabbage before magically turning into a green leaf!

  6. I was not aware of it. Great.

  7. This is a beautiful tree.

  8. Your minor observations are commendable. This can happen only with people who love nature.

  9. beautifully shown both in pictures and words


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