this evergreen tree is so commonly seen in hong kong that i almost forgot to feature it here. but for the past few weeks it has been reminding me by its explosive blooming and fruiting extravaganza, i feel sorry that i did not introduce it here earlier.
先是名字。「血」的由來：當枝條折斷，樹液出現，經氧化後變紅，狀似流血。而我最初對這植物產生好感，是因為可愛的英文俗名「elephant’s ear 象耳朵」，馬上會聯想到陳年電影卡通《小飛象》的可愛模樣。
macaranga tanarius is native to hong kong, guangdong and taiwan. it has an english common name in this region, elephant’s ear. but when i looked for it on australia or some western plant website, this name does not exist.
i adore this name though. it reminds me the lovely ‘dumbo’ in the disney old movie.
elephant’s ear has many distinctive features that it is hard not to recognize it. the thin and papery leaves actually resemble shields much more than ‘dumbo’s ears. each leaf is a clear and pretty vein map.
flowering season is around april to may. even though the colours are not sharp, the flowers are captivating due to the intensity of the inflorescence. elephant’s ear is dioecious, male and female flowers do not coexist in one single tree. roughly speaking if you see flowers in cones, they are male. female blossoms tend to be in clusters.
i am quite impressed by the business of the flowers, but the fruits definitely win my heart. these alien creatures are so ugly attractive with the soft prickles and dense glandular appearance. these fellows are capsules usually two to three celled. each ‘chamber’ contains one black seed.
血桐 elephant’s ear (macaranga tanarius) – kingdom: plantae 植物界 | (unranked): angiosperms | (unranked): eudicots | (unranked): rosids | order: malpighiales 金虎尾目 | family: euphorbiaceae 大戟科 | genus: macaranga 血桐屬 | species: m. tanarius 血桐 (wiki)