Hernandia nymphaeifolia (Hernandiaceae)

Hernandia nymphaeifolia

This coastal tree is widespread along tropical shores and typically occurs right at the strandline. It is known as the Sea Hearse or Lantern Tree and is quite unmistakable, having light glossy green leaves attached to the leaf stalk in a very unique way – the leaf stalk is attached some distance into the leaf lamina. When leaves are attached to the leaf stalk in such a fashion, the leaves are called peltate leaves. The fruits are also highly distinctive, with a white to red ‘outer covering that hides the dark brown fruit. However, the head of the fruit peeks out at the tip of the white/red covering where they look like dark ‘eyes’.

Hernandia nymphaeifolia

Hernandia nymphaeifolia
The ‘fruit’ cut open to expose the real fruit.

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About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Habitat - Coastal forest, Habitat - Rain forest, Hernandiaceae (Sea Hearse family), Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Medicinal Plants and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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