Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cayota mitis - Fish Tail Palm

The fishtail palm is so called because of the shape of the leaves. This palm can potentially reach a height of 30 feet and having seen it in parks and nature reserves, under flyovers, in gardens and the sides of roads, I have come to know it as if it were an old friend each time I set eyes on a palm.
Family: palmae (arecaceae)
Origin: Indonesia

I know what to look out for - the bunches of fruits and in particular the elusive flowers. For as long as I have been looking at this plant since the day I got my first digital camera some 4 years ago, I have only seen the flowers only once on a palm that was midway up Bukit Timah Hill. The palm is no longer there and has probably reached the end of its natural life. But I will never forget the flowers and this is the precious photo of the flowers that I never seem to have the good luck to see again.The closest I got to seeing it a second time was when I came upon a palm in a landscaped garden with these clusters of purplish buds and I was so thrilled thinking that if I were to return to see this palm the next day, I would probably get to see the flowers. It was indeed a great disappointment that when I made the effort the next day to see the flowers, I found that the buds have all dropped off, most likely due to a heavy shower. So again, all I have is this picture to show for what I have missed: Since then, I have only seen the tree in various stages of fruiting like the picture below taken at Telok Blangah Park. The lowest most bunch is most probably the buds.

I have learned one thing from being deprived of what I have been pursuing for a long time and that is to never give up especially when you have the will to do something or the wish to make a dream come true.

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