There is a trend now in preservation and multiplication of native or endemic species of plants and trees in many countries. This is the best way to enhance reforestation and controlling soil erosion because these species are already growing favorably in the conditions of the area. In Ecology in college i remember having laboratory exercises to make a transect line to enumerate all the plants in the area. With the data, the biodiversity index and/or species richness of a specific area is attained. As college students, we enjoy this out of school room exercises and we had fun learning the unfamiliar.
I have long been thinking of taking species richness in our place, who knows there might be species which are endangered in the country or those which needs to be multiplied for their economic importance. Since i am living in the big city and seldom stay at home in the province, with only a few weekends available, this self imposed project has been shelved. Maybe now i can do one plant at a time and put them in these site. Our area has a lot of plants that just grow tall unhampered, because the property is just laid fallow with nobody managing it. Now i will start with one of our tallest trees, if not one of the oldest trees in the property. This is the Alstonia scholaris, we locally call dita.
Its trunk at the bottom can be 2-3 ft in diameter, but the height i will not attempt to guess. Its habit is just to grow just straight up even if nothing in its vicinity is covering it to have branches. It just produced short branches at the canopy.
This tree is at the street sidewalk at an inner curve. It favorably holds soil in that area, but the cemented road is often broken by its massive and strong roots. Some people already offered to cut it, but i strongly declined their offers. I love this tree not only for the practical purposes but because a lot of birds roost in the canopy. Most often i see the yellow orioles playing in the canopy, and maybe they even put their nest there. It is lovely to hear the singing orioles, and also nice to watch when they declare war with the crows. Their fights are not concluded easily and they fight on air with both parties having very loud cries.
A few lizards also inhabit its trunk, although i haven't observed any being plucked by the birds. This tree is also a well-known traditional source of herbal medicine from its milky sap. A lot of health benefits have been medically found with its leaves, sap and bark. In India it is also used in ayurvedic medicine concoctions. Its alkaloid and flavoid contents for medicinal purposes have been researched on. It is fairly summarized in Wikipedia. However, the trunk is not very hard but can also be used for making pulps and paper. This tree is common in Southeast Asia but also found in the Indian sub-continent, Queensland and Guanxi and Yunnan provinces in China.
If i can have more time, i will collect its seeds and give them to interested parties.