Aside from hitting the beach or travelling to our dream destinations, there’s one thing that every Filipino can do this summer – witness the dazzling display of trees and plants blooming this summer. Every year, these trees and plants showcase their beauty to individuals who would ‘take time to smell the flowers’. So before you go excited about the cherry blossoms blooming in Japan, take time first to celebrate the wonders of our natural heritage.
Here are common blooms you may take time to enjoy watching (and photoshooting) this summer:
- Acacia Tree (Pterocarpus Indicus)
Acacia trees are familiar sight on the roads and around the communities of the Filipino. But have you took time to notice the magic of its tiny golden yellow flowers? Our national tree is native not only in the Philippines but as well as in the different parts of Southeast Asia, Northern Australasia, and western Pacific Ocean Islands. It is one of the sources of hardwood but has been duly protected because of its regressing population.
- Fire Tree (Delonix regia)
The beautiful explosion of mild to dark red would really command attention to its passersby. When these trees begin to shed off its leaves and replaced the flame red flowers, you’ll know that summer has come. These fire trees are usually at its fiercest on the months of April and May. This beautiful tree though is not a native of the country but has been introduced from Madagascar.
- Malabulak (Bombax ceiba)
Often mistaken as a Fire Tree, this native tree has the same striking red flowers and can grow up to 25 meters. The beautiful flowers are usually highlighted when the leaves begin to fall of around February or March.
- Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa)
A native in tropical southern Asia, banaba is actually one of the prides of India. Aside from ornamental use, banaba has been widely used for tea in different countries across asia – like Philippines. If scrutinized meticulously, each flower has six light to dark purple flowers that blooms during summer. Because of its proven health benefits, this has been added by the Department of Health as one of the 69 herbal products every Filipino can try on.
- Golden Shower (Cassia fistula)
These beautiful yellows and greens have been the national tree of Thailand. They usually bloom in May when the flowers dominate the whole tree leaving to leaf behind. However, the flowers could easily be swayed by strong winds and heavy rains so when the rainy season comes these spectacular sight will eventually be gone.
- Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)
Who would dare miss these versatile, bright, yellow flowers? Since they have to bask in lots of sunlight, they are usually planted around December so by April they are already in their best bloom. As they are heliotropic, sunflowers are naturally oriented to always face the sun.
- Kalachuchi (Plumeria)
In Hindu and Buddhist temples, these flowers are often associated with temple worship while in Pacific islands they are utilized in making leis. Kalachuchi usually comes in full bloom on the latter part of summer wherein its leaves would begin to fall off leaving only its beautiful flowers that comes in white, pink, yellow, and other colors. They are also very fragrant at night.
- Golden Trumpet Tree (Handroanthus chrysotrichus or Tabebuia)
Recently, these trees have gone viral through the internet as they were in full bloom in Bukidnon. This semi-evergreen tree is the national tree of Brazil and has become a common sight to many places around the Philippines. Aside from these yellowish colors, other species also come in dark to red colors.
- Balayong Tree or Local Cherry Blossoms (Cassia javania ssp. Nodosa)
Want to enjoy the pink flowers of Japan? See our own balayong tree which is a native to the province of Palawan blooming this summer! This medium-sized tree which is deem to symbolize femininity and love in Puerto Princesa. It has been duly celebrated during the Balayong Festival when it’s on its full bloom since 2005. To boost tourism in the province, P250M was spent in 2017 for the Balayong nature park project.
- Kapok (Ceiba pentandra)
Kapok is a native of tropical America and was introduced to the Philippines through trading. This medium-sized tree can grow up to 20 meters with fruits that are 15cm long. Its puffy white cotton fibers are utilized as stuffing for mattresses and pillows.
With summer knocking on our doors, why need to travel to Japan for the famed cherry blossoms when there are equally enchanting trees in our own backyard? The Philippines has 3,600 native trees that are as beautiful when in full bloom. We have to dedicate the same amount of love for them as their numbers are decreasing – not just the physical loss but loss on common knowledge as well.