Saturday, July 15, 2006

Erythrina varigata

Erythrina varigata is commonly called tiger's claw, cat's claw, or coral tree. Locally it is called gaogao. It is in the Fabaceae Family, the members of which are more commonly referred to as legumes. These trees are very important for Saipan's charismatic macrofauna species. Fruit bats nest by hanging upside down in tall upper canopy trees such as Erythrina varigata. These trees can also help to slow erose and prevent sedimentation.

Gaogao has a very showy red flower. They are not supposed to be blooming, but there is one in Garapan with flowers. I'll take a picture and post it some time this week. It is a very pretty plant.

I was hiking on the North end of Saipan today and found two mature gaogao trees that had dropped a bunch of seed pods on the ground. They are supposed to drop their seeds in March, so I was surpised to find them. I picked up a few of them and brought them home. This is what they look like:

I'm going to use these seeds to propagate more trees. I will probably go back to the Banadero Trail to look for some more later this week.

Gaogao is one of the tree species that we will be using for our revegetation project at Lao Lao. Fiesta Resort has donated over 100 Erythrina varigata to our project. We will be planting 27 of them tomorrow...well, actually we'll be planting 26. I put one of them on my coffee table at home.

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