Beach Flower

MANILA Philippines --- The Botong, scientifically known as Barringtonia asiatica, is a noteworthy seashore tree. It has many economic and environmental uses and it's a unique ornamental tree because it grows on sandy and rocky areas. This is the reason why it's a fixture in many beach resorts. Its other common names include Putat and Box Fruit (due to the shape of the fruit). It's also known as the Fish Poison tree as its fruits and leaves are poisonous and are thus used by fishermen to stun the fish in rivers.

The Botong is native to mangrove habitats or near the sea shore on the tropical coasts and islands of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean including Taiwan, the Philippines, Fiji, New Caledonia, Cook Islands, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia and the northern part of Australia.

Belonging to the Lecythidaceae plant family, the Botong has large white flowers with pinkish white stamens measuring about 10 centimeters. The tree usually blooms at night and it produces a sickly sweet odor which attracts bat and moth pollinators. The flowers fall off the following day thus creating a carpet of flowers underneath its canopy. It usually grows in rainforests near the sea. The ovary of the flower later develops into a large four-sided fruit resembling a bishop's hat. These fruits float on water and are often found washed up on the beach.

The tree can be grown and established along streets near coastal areas. It thrives under full sunlight and has a dense foliage or canopy. It is also an ideal wind breaker and can control soil erosion in beach resorts.

The Botong is also easy to propagate as its fruits are dispersed by the ocean current. As it is water-resistant and buoyant, local fishermen sometimes use the fruits as fish net floats. Once soaked in water for many days, the seeds germinate and turn into seedlings.

As mentioned earlier, this tree is poisonous. The leaves and fruits must be pounded, pulped or grated to release the poison. Surprisingly, however, the tree has many traditional medicinal uses. It has properties that can be used to treat fungal infections, burns and wounds. The leaves are heated and used to treat stomach ache and rheumatism. The fruit juice is used for controlling scabies while the seeds are used for the expulsion of intestinal worms. The fruit is also used to treat sores, cough, influenza, sore throat, diarrhea and swollen spleens caused by malaria. The plant can also be used as a treatment to cancer tumors.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Noy to visit Canada, Japan
    Noy to visit Canada, Japan

    President Aquino will embark on a state visit to Canada in May and Japan in June to meet with his counterparts and promote Philippine interests. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino accepted the invitation from Canadian Governor General David Johnston to make a state visit to Canada from May 7 to 9. Tied to this trip is the President’s one-day working visit to the United States to meet with potential investors and with the local Filipino community in Chicago, Valte …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …

  • Asean leaders want binding sea code with China
    Asean leaders want binding sea code with China

    Southeast Asian leaders will seek to speed up plans for a binding code of conduct with China governing behavior in the disputed South China Sea at a summit next week, Malaysia’s foreign minister said Friday. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a massive flow of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to neighboring countries will also be discussed at the two-day summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which starts Monday. Anifah said leaders are expected to raise concerns …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options