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.

  • Philippines hits back at Beijing over South China Sea
    Philippines hits back at Beijing over South China Sea

    The Philippines on Saturday shot back at Beijing's criticism of its activities in the South China Sea, saying they were "in no way comparable to China's massive reclamation activities" in the waters. It also said accusations that Manila was being "hypocritical" would not distract people from Beijing's own actions which were raising regional tensions. "The Philippines' possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea... is in no …

  • Boxing hero Pacquiao is top tax-payer in Philippines: govt
    Boxing hero Pacquiao is top tax-payer in Philippines: govt

    Boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, who faces his biggest fight against unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather, already holds top spot as the number one taxpayer in the Philippines, government records showed Saturday. A list of top individual tax-payers for 2013, posted on the Bureau of Internal Revenue website, put the boxer-turned-congressman at number one with 163.84 million pesos ($3.72 million) in taxes paid. Internal revenue chief Kim Henares confirmed that Pacquiao topped the list but stressed …

  • Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects
    Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects

    The Philippines and Japan have signed agreements for six official development assistance (ODA) projects amounting to 22.289 billion yen or around P9.6 billion. …

  • Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms
    Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms

    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them. National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration …

  • Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP
    Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP

    Contrary to what romance novel writers would want their readers to believe, there are no perfect marriages in the real world. This was according to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In a statement titled “CBCP Position Against the Divorce Bill and Against the Decriminalization of Adultery and Concubinage,” Villegas said that while it is not easy to make relationships last, learning how to work out differences – and …

  • DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa
    DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa

    The defense department is holding off repairs and other planned infrastructure projects on Pag-Asa Island, one of seven islets and two reefs occupied by Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands. Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario pointed out that the maintenance and repair of facilities in Pag-Asa Island are not covered by the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of parties involved in the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes. “Repair and maintenance is okay but before …

  • Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns
    Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns

    An 11-hour power outage will hit five towns in Aurora on Tuesday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced yesterday. The NGCP said Baler, Dingalan, San Luis, Ma. Aurora and Dipaculao would be affected by the blackout. The NGCP said parts of Nueva Ecija and Aurora were hit by a power interruption yesterday due to the tripping of the Cabanatuan-Baler 69kV line. …

  • Rules set for climate change programs
    Rules set for climate change programs

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) have released the revised guidelines to track and monitor climate change adaptation programs of the government. “The government of the Philippines has demonstrated leadership and strong commitment in implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to respond to climate change,” read the joint memorandum circular published in The STAR yesterday. “With the goal of using the budget process to plan, prioritize and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options