Parks, gardens and footpaths in Singapore are usually kept clean, sure there are a few careless people that litter, but the city has a global reputation for being clean and tidy. This also applies to dog owners, so it was with some surprise that I encountered this strange lump on the footpath at Fort Canning.
For a flash I thought it was the result of a lazy or careless dog owner. Then I realised I had jkust passed a particular tree, Enterolobium cyclocarpum. It’s a flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae probably better known as the Leguminosae family. Along with all other legumes it’s a nitrogen fixer. This species is native to the tropical Americas, from central Mexico to Venezuela and northern Brazil.
At Fort Canning was once a botancical garden and still has some fine tropical and equatorial trees.
Enterolobium cyclocarpum is also known as guanacaste or caro caro. So, I think you can see where I’m headed with this. It so happened that being a heritage tree the Enterolobium cyclocarpum I had just passed was displaying a tag with a picture on the tage that looked a little like the object I found. The tree is also known as the monkey-ear tree or elephant-ear tree. The label identified it as an Ear Pod Tree.
Without hesitation I picked up the object, obviously a seed pod, and turned it over. Sure enough, the inside looked just like the inside of a mammal’s ear, well sort of.
The serendipitous aspect of this was that I’d been thinking moments before, as I gazed at the label, how I’d like to see one of the pods. Now I have one.