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英雄再現

2010年3月初木棉樹陸續出現開花現象,紅色為吸引食蜜鳥而來,白頭鵯和紅耳鵯是常客,用望遠鏡觀察,相信有更多的雀鳥被建築物群當中的赤柱所吸引而來.

Early March 2010, Cotton tree (Bombax ceiba) began flowering one after another.  The red flowers attract honey-eaters.  Chinese bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) and Red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) are its patrons.  With telescope, you can see that there are many more birds being pulled in by the “red tower” amongst all the tall buildings.

英雄樹又名露頭樹,比其他樹種的高,因此有英雄出頭的聯想,自己也將它與孖樹寫成"風塵三俠",和它與細葉榕寫成"英雄壓霸王"的故事.

In our area, the tree is known as Ying Hung Shue (literarlly means Hero tree), a.k.a. “Outcrop” tree for it always grows taller than other species around, which associates with the emergence of a hero.  Cotton tree appear in my other article “The Three Musketeers”, together with the twin Hackberry; and in “Hero conquers Overlord” co-star with Chinese Banyan (Ficus microcarpa).

畢直的樹身,間距輪生狀橫枝,樹腳有刺瘤,是木棉的特徵.

The tree has a straight central trunk with spaced whorls of horizontal spreading branches and spikes at its foot.

懂得利用木棉樹輪狀橫枝的有本地留鳥喜鵲,它用小枝條在木棉樹上架起巢穴,平平穩穩,無敵海景,風涼水冷,確是選址的高手.

Magpie, one of the resident birds in Hong Kong, know how to put the verticillate branches to use.  Nests are built with twigs safely anchored on the tree.  Magpie is undoubtedly the real expert in selecting the best location for its home with invincible sea view and cool environment.

樹冠佈滿紅花可以吸引老遠的雀鳥來傳播花粉,達到共利的目的.落葉才開花,便是木棉原有的本性.無奈天氣回暖,落葉的訊號不明確,部分葉片收不到落葉的訊號掛在樹上,開花的訊號同時又來了.有葉有花便變成如今的現象.

The crown is covered entirely with red flowers to attract birds, far and near, to disseminate its pollens, which is mutually beneficial.  Blooming after defoliation is the real nature of Cotton Tree.  However, because of global warming, the defoliating signal is confused.  Some leaves which do not get the signal and linger on while the tree gets the call to bloom.  Thus, nowadays, foliage and blossoms co-exist at the same time.

*translated by Mary Chung

作者: Leon Lau, 譯者: Mary Chung

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