Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time to wax poetic after Joyce Kilmer over a breathtakingly beautiful flowering tree in Taipei

By Nancy T. Lu

Flowers have a way of taking my breath away. And coming upon this flowering tree in the heart of Taipei leaves me in awe. Just imagine an entire canopy of blossoms and the ground below paved with dropped flowers, too. Wow!

Said to stay in full bloom for only one month in a year, the special tree is indeed a sight to behold. That it is the only flowering tree of its kind in Taiwan makes it unique.

Capparaceae is its scientific name. People in Taiwan also call it by different names, including mountain olive tree. With origin traced to Australia, the tree grows usually to a height of at least 10 meters.

In the month of April, when this particular tree in Taipei blooms, flowers appear greenish yellow in color. The petals then turn slightly purple in shade. In July, small spotted fruits develop, according to explanations on a marker at the site.

The wood from the tree is carved into the shape of a fish and this is used as bait for catching squid or cuttlefish. This explains why residents point to the flowers, calling them wooden fish flowers in Chinese.

The tree standing on a piece of Taipower property at 11, Lane 283, Roosevelt Road, Sec. 3, in Taipei has been there for at least two decades. Now is the time to rush over to catch a fleeting seasonal floral feast for the eyes. And maybe you, too, will have a good reason to start quoting poet Joyce Kilmer: “I think that I shall never see…a poem as lovely as a tree…!”

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