BY VINA MEDENILLA
Many Pinoys are fascinated by the famous cherry blossoms of Japan. Now, there is no need to travel far because there are native trees in the Philippines that are just as beautiful as the Sakura.
Among thousands of native flowering trees in the country is Salinggogon (Cratoxylum formosum). It is one of the tree species with pink blooms that are likened to cherry blossoms.
Salinggogon trees can grow up to 35 meters tall. It thrives in various forests around the country, specifically in Rizal, Bulacan, Polilio, Mindoro, Guimaras, Negros, and Mindanao.
Masungi Georeserve, a privately-led conservation area in Baras, Rizal, is home to numerous endemic and indigenous flora and fauna, including 50 Salinggogon trees.
Salinggogon trees are said to grow on hill slopes with clay soil. Since Masungi is found in the uplands of Rizal, this species naturally grows well in the area. They say that it is highly possible that there are more Salinggogon inside Masungi, too.
Salinggogon flowers usually last for two to three weeks during the dry season. It blooms before new leaves start to regrow. The tree flourishes in full sun and requires at least six hours of sunlight every day.
Masungi preserves this species through manual weed control, which allows the tree to acquire all the nutrients and other resources it needs.
“We implement enhanced and constant forest enforcement on the ground. This includes the patrolling and monitoring performed by our forest rangers in our reforestation site,” said Masungi Georeserve.
They also share photos and details about Salinggogon trees through social media in hopes of raising awareness on the importance of forests and encouraging the public to protect and act on them.
Salinggogon trees are at risk from activities like illegal logging, charcoal making, and timber poaching. This is why it is vital to promote and educate more individuals about native trees like Salinggogon.
“Our team is also in close contact with scientists and botanists, such as those from the UPLB Museum of Natural History, who provide research and technical support to our team.” Masungi plans to continue consulting the experts in terms of the propagation of trees growing on their premises, including the Salinggogon.
Salinggogon trees can be found on the Discovery and Legacy trails of Masungi Georeserve, but those in the latter are yet to mature.
Photos from Masungi Georeserve Foundation Inc.
For more information, visit Masungi Georeserve’s website.