Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Flowers and Fruit - We've Got Some Poison Here

 Ornamental Tree Happens to Be a Killer

Yesterday three of us headed north with the cameras. Overcast weather is great for waterfalls.

Doc and I got with an old friend. I'll call him TC because Typhoon Condition is hard to spell.

We stopped at a bridge, crossing Haneji Dam to shoot a few photos and stretch our legs.

Lining the road, just before the bridge, were these trees with some sort of red fruits.

Cerbera mangas, red fruits, leaves, tree

There were samples which had fallen to the ground. Some were red, others brown.

TC and I had to pick them up for closer examination. They were sort of sticky.

It seemed like a good idea, to wash our hands and we did, using wet lens tissues.

Pink-eyed Pong-pong tree, flowers

It's always fun, trying to identify flowering trees so, I took a photo of these flowers.

With an image, containing flowers and the leaves and identification may be easy.

After an hour of internet searching, I gave up and decided to try the library.

They have an awesome crew at the Kin Town Library. You just have to speak Japanese.

It's been a long time since I've bothered them for information on plant identification.

Most of the staff know me. I saw a few new faces. Soon, the whole joint was helping me.

Before long, they had this one nailed down. And, I even got the Latin terminology.


English Name: Sea Pong Pong or Pink-eyed Cerbera

Scientific Name: Cerbera manghas

Japanese Name:  ミフクラギ (Mifukuragi)

WARNING: The fruits and leaves are poisonous if, you eat them.

Hunters have used the sap of this tree to kill animals.

People have been known, to do themselves in with the poison, too.

It's sometimes called "suicide apple" by folks in the Hawaiian Islands.

A bit of Madagascar Mythology: The seeds were used to poison kings and queens.

There's Good News Too

The roots and bark of the tree can be used to make a laxative.

Timber from this plant can be used for carving and furniture.

And the wood can be burned, to make high-quality charcoal.


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