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Botanical musings on Election Day

Botanical musings on Election Day

Look here! A Philippine endemic standing on the elementary school grounds where the Bulusan Poblacion residents flocked for the May 13 elections. Its fruits are starting to change color to the pure black stage signifying that it is ready for harvest. The more dark the sweeter. Unripe ones taste acidic.

Though identified as Syzygium polycephalum by a member of a botanical id group, this fruit tree, as Bulusanons very well know has two kinds the Igot and the Balig-ang. The Igot is smaller and has more acidic flavor than the Balig-ang which is more favored because it taste sweeter than its smaller counterpart. This fits the description of the ASEAN Tropical Plant Database with the following identification: For balig-ang, the scientific name is Syzygium polycephaloides (C. B. Rob.) Merr. while for the igot, it is Syzygium curranii (C.B.Robibson) Merr.

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The tree as you can see is just in front of the precinct with a long queue (photo).

According to the description of the ASEAN Tropical Plant data base, this endemic tree (igot)  is ‘quite rare’. It is mostly found in the Bicol region and parts of Samar. The tree is endemic to the Philippines.

Update on this post: I agree with a fellow Bulusan blogger that Bulusan has only one vernacular name for this species which is  ‘igot’.  The ‘balig-ang’ is commonly used in other municipalities of Sorsogon province but not in Bulusan. But definitely there are two major igot varieties of the same species in Bulusan, one is smaller and the other bigger in size. This can of course cross pollinate.

From a discussion with fellow CDFP (Co’ Digital Flora of the Philippines) members, the scientific name of this tree (above photo), our Igot, is Syzygium polycephalum not the earlier id name. The final word is based on this anecdote from this site:http://pinoytrees.blogspot.com/2009/07/enjoying-lipote-once-more.html

Photos : Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon
Philippines

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