“Nobody is really sure how or when the Australian Mulberry (Pipturus argenteus) got introduced to Singapore LINK. This small tree does not have much to recommend it, except the ability to attract birds. It is rather sparse and untidy, and has very brittle branches. Exercise extreme caution when climbing it.
“However, it fruits almost continuously, and local birds have learned to dine on its bland-tasting berries which are also edible by people. The tree in my garden is visited by Yellow-Vented Bulbuls, Javan Mynahs, Asian Glossy Starlings and Black-naped Orioles.
“The latest visitor was an Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) (above, below), which was diligently picking away at the very small fruits. The pictures show the hornbill in the Mulberry Tree, though not actually feeding.
“The Australian Mulberry spreads rapidly and is very fast growing. The seeds are scattered via bird droppings, and I find small plants sprouting up all over the garden. I remove most of them. The present tree, which is over 7 meters tall, is only about four years old.”
Lee Chiu San
31st August 2017