Important note: The identity of the Pulai tree in this post was corrected form Alstonia angustiloba to Alstonia scholaris; the colour of the flowers in the latter are not white but a yellowish-green; thanks to an alert by Angie Ng earlier this year and the provision of the link to the Total Vascular Flora of Singapore from and conversation with Adrian Loo. See also “Appreciate the beauty of Alstonias,” by Wilson Wong. Gardening with Wilson, 05 Jan 2010.
Have you seen Pulai tree (Alstonia scholaris) flowering this January? They are planted profusely along the Western Park Connector in Singapore, so you’d be hard-pressed to miss them if you live in Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok, Jurong etc.
Amy Choong first alerted me in early January via facebook about the synchronised flowering and strong, peppery smells, “All the Alstonia (pulai) trees are flowering, unusual as they hardly show synchronize flowering. The green, peppery smell with some sweet scent is it. Strong in the evening and night.” [04 Jan 2010]
When I finally emerged after two weeks of confinement due to a bad flu, I saw that the ‘instant trees’ along South Buona Vista were indeed flowering. And when I went on a Zendog ride along the Western PCN last Sunday, the west was all ablaze with flowering trees. The paths below the trees were floor strewn with their petals and made for a lovely sight (sweepers might have a different perspective, though).
I am compiling photos and locations of flowering for Habitatnews (e.g. see the Syzygium grande (Sea apple) reports), so please send me your photos if you have ’em, with location details and let me know if and when you smelt them as well! Do also let me know if you are NOT staying in the west and have Pulai near your estate (e.g. Alvin says Pulai are “now being planted all around Punggol.”
Also let me know if the Pulai were not flowering in January at some places too. Well essentially, if you have Pulai trees near your house, tell me anything about them; I’m listening! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
When, will, we see the fruit?