Sunday, 25 December 2011

A tamarind by any other name...

It seems that everything in fruit at the moment is a) a member of the Sapindaceae family and b) called a tamarind. That the true tamarind (Tamarindus indica) belongs to Fabaceae and does not occur in this rainforest is neither here nor there.

Anyway, the pink tamarind (Toechima erythrocarpum) and Topaz tamarind (Synima macrophylla) are both producing fruit as if it's going out of style and their bright colours are giving a festive air to the rainforest.

Pink tamarind (Toechima erythrocarpum)

Pink tamarind fruits normally open on the tree, shedding their seeds from the canopy. But they are often given some 'assistance' in doing this. (Not mentioning any names, but I'm looking at you, king parrots. And those white-tailed rats lurking at the back. Don't think I haven't seen you as well.)

The fruit splits to release three polished seeds, each wearing a jaunty yellow aril. It doesn't look quite as mouth-watering as the aril on a lychee, but the birds seem to like it just fine.

The brush turkeys usually pick them up the moment they fall. I managed to photograph this seed only because it dropped right in front of me and the turkeys weren't game enough to take it from me. Not this time.

The other tamarind-not-tamarind is the Topaz tamarind (Synima macrophylla), which is named after the hamlet nestled in Mt Bartle Frere's rainy and verdant embrace. I photographed this tree over a couple of months. The first two photos are from early October and the last two are from mid-December.

The tiny flowers were irresistible to all sorts of insects. Not that you could tell from my photos, but they were also popular with lots of large wasps. I, on the other hand, was not popular with lots of large wasps after I repeatedly shoved my camera and flash into their faces. Referring to myself at the paperwasp-arazzi didn't help. Quite possibly made it worse. Anyhoo, you can work out why I have no wasp portraits. And it's not because I sold them all to the Daily Mail.

But all those insects were obviously doing some good. 
That looks like a good pollination strike rate.

Almost ready

About to shed...

Now how's that for a Christmas tree?


Dreamer said...

Hi Snail,
Wow... a complete makeover for your blog. well done! Looks better.

You know, you got really great pictures. Did you put copyrights on them? Better be vigilant for someone may steal your images and use it without putting credit to your website.

My image was stolen by a government agency here in langkawi. Very unprofessional of them.

Anyway, have a blessed Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

mick said...

Very interesting rainforest fruits and yes they do give a nice splash of Christmas color. Are they tasty to humans as well as critters?

Sherrie Y said...

Oooh! Beautiful! (Wasps or no wasps.) Happy Christmas from this side of the pond, where all that's blooming is the frost on the river.

Tyto Tony said...

May the year ahead be as fruitful!

Snail said...

Dreamer, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! That's rather rude of the govt agency. Not exactly encouraging people to follow the law.

I'll have to put watermarks on. I hadn't thought about it before, but too many of my friends have had their work pinched.

Snail said...

Mick, the capsules are hard as rock, although the paddies and rats will have an exploratory nibble. (They will try everything.)

I haven't tasted the arils. I think that those of Diploglottis are edible, but I'm not game to try them!

Snail said...

Sherrie, the frost might be all that's blooming at the moment, but that only makes the spring flowers more beautiful!

Snail said...

Tony, appalling and excellent at the same time! Have a good one!

Dreamer said...

Hi Snail,
Malaysian government here is not only rude, they are unethical too. They think they can do whatever they want to and trespass into someone's property.

My tip for you is, ensure your images have your copyright text in the center of each image. Those rascals can simply crop your image if your copyright text is placed at one corner.

If possible, use solid text instead of watermark. Watermark is not so visible and can be manipulated easily. From now on, I am using solid text instead of watermark. Sounds a bit "kiasu" but better be than having to see your image on someone else website.

Dave Coulter said...

Wow, now that's pretty festive! :)

Psych Tutor:Mentor said...

Definitely awesome Christmas cheer there ~:-)

Denis Wilson said...

paperwasp-arazzi - earns my vote for "Blog-Word of the year".
Your prize will arrive soon.
Just send your Application Fee, and you are guaranteed to win.
I grow one Diploglottis here, native to the coastal escarpment just east of here. I actually grew it from seed (one of my few triumphs). Actually, it seems unkillable.

Patricia Lichen said...

Ha!--good laughs--and an education as well. It's chilly but not raining at the moment here in Oregon, USA. So happy to visit your rainforest today.

Snail said...

Dreamer, thanks for the advice. I really will have to do it. (Although I didn't do it this last time. Hopeless!)

Snail said...

Dave & Psych Tutor --- it certainly brightens up the forest greens!

Snail said...

Denis, I write without editing! That's all I'm sayin'.

There must be Diploglottis here, but I won't know until I spot some in flower. Have you tried the seeds?

Snail said...

Patricia, I bet it's coolish out your way! Very wet here and about to get wetter with ex-TC Grant, but it hasn't been too hot.