Andira inermis: Blooming sky-pointing flowers
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Andira inermis or Cabbage tree belongs to the Fabaceae family and originates from Central America. It is a slow growing medium to large-sized evergreen tree up to 25 m tall. This tree is hardy and can tolerate varying soil conditions. It can grow into a beautiful specimen with a dense and rounded crown but grows limitedly if planted in poor urban sites. The leaves are dark green in colour, large, pinnately-compound with oval leaflets and wavy margins. The flowers are small, pea-shaped, pinkish purple, clustered in large and dense 10 – 15 cm long terminal panicles. These panicles of deep pink flowers always stand out against the dark green foliage, pointing skyward and attracting bees, butterflies and birds. The tree is normally in full bloom during the hot dry season, 2 – 3 times per year. The fruit is round, hard, ripen from green to dark brown and contain one large seed which usually drops to the ground. Easily propagated by seed, its saplings germinate easily from these fallen fruits. Andira is popular for roadside planting since the 1960’s and is also suitable as a shade tree for parks, gardens and open spaces. An andira tree can be observed flowering in front of FRIM mosque, opposite building D23.

Prepared by Ahmad Azaruddin, M.N. Posted on 18 January 2013. The weekly weather was 29° to 32°C and cloudy.