A Favorite Tree

It’s good to have a favorite tree. Here’s mine:

Mallotus philippensis
Mallotus philippensis behind our cottage

Mallotus philippensis
This is commonly known as Banato (Philippines), Kamala, Dyer’s Rottlera, Kamala Dye Tree, Monkey Face Tree, Orange Kamala, Red Kamala, Scarlet Croton.

I first noticed this tree in 2012. It  was covered in powdery red seed capsules that looked like berries. I looked it up and found out that in India,  the powder is used to make dye as well as Ayurvedic medicine. They also use the bark, leaves and seeds for medicine. I was happy when we ended up building our cottage right next to the tree. Now I wouldn’t lose track of it!

red "berries" that are seed pods
red “berries” that are seed pods
three black seeds inside each pod
three black seeds inside each pod

I sort of “forgot” about the tree until the birds started paying lots of attention to it. We saw lots of Lowland White-eyes in the tree last month. This week Tonji counted at least 20 Black-naped Orioles in the tree! I’m not sure if the birds are attracted to the seeds or the insects in the trees. Or maybe both.

I didn't notice the red insects beside the seed pods!
I didn’t notice the red insects beside the seed pods until I checked my photos.
The seed are hard. Do Orioles eat them?
The seed are hard. Do Orioles eat them?

I thought we had only that one tree behind the cottage. But it turns out that there are two others, a bit further away in front of the cottage. The Orioles have been flying a circuit around the cottage from tree to tree.

the other one
the other one
it also has seed pods

It may be their favorite tree too!

3 thoughts on “A Favorite Tree”

  1. Good day! I am a 4th year pharmacy student and we plan to conduct a research/study about the Mallotus philippensis or commonly known as Banato plant in the Philippines. May I know if you and your husband is from the Philippines perhaps? We really appreciate if you can inform us about the location of this plant in the Philippines. Thank you and I hope you can reply to this comment right away if you are not busy. 🙂

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