“The African tulip (Spathodea campanulata) was introduced to Singapore in the 1910’s from Africa. It produces terminal clusters of beautiful blooms held above the foliage appearing in upturned whorls at the branch tips. A few at a time, the buds of the lowest tier bend outward and open into large bell-shaped orange-red flowers with a yellow border on the petals and four brown-anthered stamens in the center. Buds have the appearance of bananas. The pods point upwards and outwards above the foliage. Ripe pods slit open revealing the woody, boat-shaped containers. The winged seeds are dispersed by wind. I enjoy seeing them swirling slowly and drifting down to the ground below.
“The plant grows wildly nowadays. A few can be found at the fringe of my condo. …a cluster of the blooms and buds was on a low hanging branch that was only about six feet high. It was so attractive and irresistible to someone that a few days after I took the photo, the cluster disappeared.
“Many birds, such as sunbird, Asian Glossy Starling, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Rose-ringed Parakeet, etc are attracted to this tree because of feeding opportunities.
“A video, recorded on 20th March showing a Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) taking the nectar, can be viewed above.”
Sun Chong Hong
7th April 2011