Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sarcotheca griffithii: A Native Star in MacRitchie Forest

Long long time ago, the night sky would have been very different. It would have been crystal clear. Our 100 year old trees would have seen a sea spangle of stars in the night sky. They would have seen even that narrow glistening band, our Milky Way. It would have been a most wondrous sight serenading a heavenly chorus of the big picture called Life - right above our forest.

The young trees of today, like our children, can no longer look up and behold the distant lights in all their glory. Pollution has clouded the air with particulates and stray urban light litters our air space above us today. We struggle with some effort just to catch a pocketful of faint stars if only we search hard enough.

So, if they can talk, what lovely stories these old trees can tell us about the constellations. You can tell how they loved the night sky. It is as if the lights lived forever in their hearts. That is true of Pupoi. She is the grand old dame of MacRitchie Forest. Her love of the stars has woven into the heart of her fruits a core shaped like the star. What better love than one inscribed in the heart.

If you love trees, you must love the stars. Trees love stars.

Grand old dame of MacRitchie Forest

Fluted trunk

Compound leaves


Star-shaped core of fruit

Fallen leaves

Tiny seeds that can grow into giants!

Peeling orangy bark
This native species, Sarcotheca griffithii, belongs to the same family as our Starfruit. The family is called Oxalidaceae. Oxalis belongs to this family also. They can be found in our gardens and along the roadside as herbs.

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