Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Love these Red Birds

Who among you will disagree that these look like birds? To me they are converging on a feeder busy getting their share of seeds! They are very much concentrated on picking the seeds and nothing around will disturb those poses. 

I've known this as Pedilanthus tithymaloides, although newer references said that this previous name is subsumed by the newer name Euphorbia tithymaloides. Changing scientific names is not new, but i am still amazed to find it has accumulated at least 32 names to itself. That doesn't include yet the so many local terms in my country, that differ depending on the dialect of the place. Our Batangas Tagalog term for it is "swerda or suwerda". I don't know how it came along, or where it came from but that's just it. 

And my 2nd amazement is in reading that it came from the subtropical North and Central America. Oh, so it is an immigrant or naturalized plant here with us. Be that as it may, we learned to love them. We have a long hedge of these when we were kids, trimmed periodically on top and both sides, looking so neat and organized. And a secret i will reveal is that during those days we sometimes took the flap of the 'bird's head' to reveal the nectar, then we sipped it, very nice taste! Now that we're adults i once asked an equally adult officemate from a province very far from us if they as kids sipped the nectar too. And we were so happy confirming we had the same experience. I wonder why kids those times are prone to sip nectar! My last amazement was that it is highly toxic, thanks God we didn't taste the milky sap!

What about you?


  1. For some reason this plant looked familiar to me, and I'm thinking maybe I saw it in Florida during visits there. Apparently, it's native to Florida, the Carribean islands, and as you say Central America. Beautiful plant, and I enjoyed your descriptions of your childhood memories. (Scary that the sap is toxic.)

  2. Wow, what amazing flowers. Just like a little flock of red humming birds!

  3. This flower is an amazing design. But I guess the idea of sipping nectar straight from a flower amazes me even more.

    1. Hello Gemma, for me it is not the sipping of nectar per se that amazed me, it is why kids from different parts of the country did it while playing as if it is a normal thing to do! Till now i still don't know the answer! And i would like to tell you that now when i saw the overflowing nectar of my hoyas i tried tasting it, and it is sweet!

  4. I remember these flowers as a kid, and I even sipped their nectar too. At that time, I never appreciated them because they were too common, but now, looking at this picture, I realize how beautiful they are. Like a flock of hummingbirds, indeed!

  5. WHat lovely flowers - they look like the red beaks of birds.

  6. I was not expecting a flower but I agree they look like exotic birds..


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