|Sakura...sakura....no? Not sakura? OK, this is the village cherry blossom.|
|Close up of the ripe and green fruits. yummm....|
|Heaps on the ground. Guess the neighbourhood doesn't have enough birdies or marauding kids.|
|The tree's location? At the site of Kuala Trengganu's Masjid Raja Bukit Besar construction.|
|More close up. The ripe fruit looks kinds translucent, eh? It's sweet...but not as nice as the cherries Down Under.|
"Muntingia calabura, the sole species in the genus Muntingia, is a flowering plant native to southern Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and western South America south to Peru and Bolivia. Common names include (English) Jamaican cherry, Panama berry, Singapore cherry, Strawberry tree; (Spanish) bolaina, yamanaza, cacaniqua, capulín blanco, nigua, niguito, memizo or memiso; (Indonesia) kersen; and (Filipino) aratilis, aratiles, manzanitas and sarisa.
It is a small tree 7-12 meters tall with tiered and slightly drooping branches. It has serrated leaves 2.5-15 cm long and 1-6.5 cm wide. The flowers are small ,white and slightly malodorous. It gives rise to 1-1.5 cm light red fruit. The fruit is edible, sweet and juicy, and contains a large number of tiny (0.5 mm) yellow seeds.
It is a pioneer species that thrives in poor soil, able to tolerate acidic and alkaline conditions and drought. Its seeds are dispersed by birds and fruit bats. It is cultivated for its edible fruit, and has become naturalised in some other parts of the tropics, including southeastern Asia. As a pioneer plant, it could help condition the soil and make it habitable to other plants. However, it might also be considered as an invasive species since it might out-compete indigenous plants."
Angelina's note: Mama said she used to have one of these trees in the backyard of her childhood home. The birdies will come in droves to feast on the ripe fruits. But there were no birdies when I visited this particular tree. That explains the large amount wasted on the ground. purrr....meow!