Friday, October 5, 2012

Cây Bàng

The tall and large tree in the center of the photo below is a Terminalia catappa, which is a large tropical tree in the Leadwood tree family, Combretaceae. This tree is native to the tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia. It is known by the common names of Ketapang (Indonesian), Bengal almond, Singapore almond, Ebelebo, Malabar almond, West Indian almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond, Beach Almond. In other words, pretty much everybody agrees it's an almond tree. The Terminalia catappa is dry-season deciduous. Before falling, the leaves are loaded with pigments causing them to turn pinkish-reddish or yellow-brown. Then the branches become bare until new leaves return at the beginning of the next growing season.

When a kid, I used to collect the seeds of this tree, called "cây bàng" in Vietnamese. With a hammer, I could get to the free and delicious almond inside. The pathway here is littered with many seeds from this tree and they are much larger than I used to know them. This place must be paradise for squirrels and I am surprised to not see many of them. Got to come here with a big hammer soon to sample these seeds myself.

Due to many naturally occurring chemical elements in them, the leaves and bark of this tree are used in different herbal medicines for various purposes. In Taiwan, fallen leaves are used as a herb to treat liver diseases. In Suriname, a tea made from the leaves is prescribed against dysentery and diarrhea.
Almond Tree


Ricky Hanson said...
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Ricky Hanson said...

RickyHanson says amazing foliage.