Origin: China and India.
The most distinctive feature of this tree is the hard and bright red seeds. Finding these seeds on the ground signals the presence of this tree in the area. Apparently, the seed does not germinate easily due to the hard seed coat, unless it is being scratched or treated with strong acid. It may mean that the seeds have to pass through the digestive system of some animals to soften the seed coat prior to germination. Being red probably make the seeds attractive to animals. The tree tolerates mangrove environment well as a number of trees can be found very close to the edge of the water at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
In Singapore, there are 9 maidenhair ferns list in the flora checklist published in 2009 including Adiantum latifolium. It is not known when this fern was first reported in Singapore. Thailand first reported this fern in 2004 while a report dated as far back as 1973 reported the sighting of this fern in Sri Lanka.
(1) Boonkerd T, Lindsay S, Middleton DJ, Suddee S. Additions to the Pteridophyte flora of Thailand. Thai Forest Bull (Bot) 2004;32:6-11. | Read article |
(2) Sledge WA. Native and Naturalised Species of Adiantum in Ceylon. Ceylon J Sci 1973;10(2):144-154. | Read article |
Origin: America and Africa.
This tree is classified under the family Fabaceae (Bean family) but its fruits do not look like any typical bean pod. I have not seen any mature fruit that crack open to release the seeds. In fact, it has just one seed in the middle of the fruit wrap around by a thick layer of pulp. The fruits look like those from the Golden Apple (Spondias dulcis), a much smaller tree. It is put under the bean family probably due to the features of its flowers. The Ordeal Tree (Erythrophleum suaveolens) can be easily confused with this tree especially if there is no flower or fruit on the tree. Both have compound leaves that look very similar. The difference is in the arrangement of the leaflets, one has opposite leaflets while the other has alternate leaflets.