Monday, 17 December 2012

Maniltoa browneoides

Maniltoa browneoides, or commonly known as the Handkerchief Tree or Enam-enam is native to New Guinea. It is from the family Fabaceae.

The medium evergreen tree has a large, round, fairly dense crown that can grow to a maximum height of 12m.

Young leaves resemble soft white handkerchiefs that hang vertically downwards from the branches. They are arranged in a way that they overlap one another. The new leaves take a few days to harden and turn to shiny green leaves. The leaves are pinnately compound, and the mature leaflets have smooth, entire margins.

Surrounded by brown, papery bracts, the flowers are white with long stamens that grown in clusters, looking somewhat like powder-puffs. They turn rapidly from white to brown once pollinated or damaged. The flowers appear to attract birds such as starlings and sunbirds.

The fruit is dark brown, shaped like a nut and approximately 7 cm containing one small seed. They form a dense cluster at the tip of the twigs and each cluster is larger than 30 cm. Each fruit contains one small seed.

The timber is quite strong and durable, thus it is used for making furniture. This tree is also planted for aesthetic purpose.

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