23 March 2011

A Romeo-and-Juliet plant story: Caesalpinia bonduc

"The fate of this rare plant in Singapore is somewhat dire, with the only male and only female plants in the Republic being separated by a large distance."
Bonduc (Caesalpinia bonduc)
Say the authors of a recent paper on this intriguing plant found on our shores.

One of the locations of this plant is Pulau Semakau. I saw it several years ago and didn't know at that time that it was so rare. I was just annoyed by its prickles! It turned out to be a precious female plant.
Bonduc (Caesalpinia bonduc) with developing flowers?
Are the tufts developing flower clusters?
It was only after reading the recent paper by Alvin Lok and colleagues, that I learnt just how special this plant is. The paper has lots of photos of this rare plant, and shares more about its precarious status.
Bonduc (Caesalpinia bonduc) fruit pod
The fruit pod has stiff spines!
Read more about it on Lok, A. F. S. L., W. F. Ang, K. Y. Chong, P. X. Ng, S. Teo, T. K. Yee, C. K. Yeo & H. T. W. Tan, 2011. The status of Caesalpinia bonduc (L.) Roxb. in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 4: 43–48. [PDF, 1.29 MB]

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