Friday, August 27, 2010

Barringtonia Asiatica beautiful but poisonous flower

One day, I walked with  a German tourist Katja Zimmerman along the South Eastern beach of Mansinam island. Katja lives in Paris the capital of France.This was her first visit to West Papua.  Under a tree, Katja stopped for a while. She picked up a beautiful flower from the ground. Its filaments were white and purple supported by white petals. She asked me what the name of the flower was but I could not answer her question. She took a seed of the plant and put it inside her bag saying that she would give it to her friend in Europe. She wanted her to plant the seed of this beautiful flower plant.
When she had returned to Paris. She sent me an email again still asking the name of the flower. I asked the local people about it. Some said that it was the flower of "Ketapang Pantai." My friend told me that the seed of the flower or fruit is poisonous. Fishermen like to use it to poison fish. So that they can catch them easily. 
The fruit of this plant looks like coconut but their physical appearances are different. It took around one month for me to find the answer of her question. After hours of searching and surfing on the internet, I finally found an article about the flower from wikipedia. Its name was Barringtonia Asiatica. In the article, it is said that the flower is poisonous too. Oh my God! I hope that she didn't eat the seed and she is still alive now.
Well, when the next time you are at the beach and see this flower, make sure that you don't try to eat its seed although it looks similar to coconut. by Charles Roring 
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Sketchbook Drawing of Reef Fish
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