Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mickey Mouse bush, Ochna serrulata,

I have good memories of two persons when I see the Mickey Mouse bush or Ochna serrulata. The first involves my UK/NZ friend A.

A group of gardening enthusiasts requested and requested the university to give us a plot of land. Eventually they did, and we were glad to have allotments.

One of the rule was, we could only grow small shrubs, veges, flowers but not a tree. We agreed, beggars can't be choosers. Alas, the garden was built near a bellowing dragon furness. The soil has been baked hard that plants won't grow. Besides, the garden was covered by overhead rain forest trees and blocked the sun.

Most gave up their allotment, and I was the die heart secretary. You see, if I didn't take care of the garden, the university would revert it back to lawn.

One day, A. came and asked if she could grow her avocado tree in the allotment. As it was against the rule about planting trees, I told her she could plant it at the edge.

As I have no idea what an avocado tree was like when I saw the tree slowly grow more and more like a Mickey Mouse bush, I didn't query A.

A. was certain it was an avocado tree as she had personally planted the tree from a seed after she had eaten the avocado.

Soon, it was evident that it is a Mickey Mouse tree because it started flowering. Apparently, a little bird decided to help A.'s in her garden in her house. It is like a cockoo bird laying her egg in other people's nest.

Both A and I have left Singapore for New Zealand. The Mickey Mouse shrub is still there. People might be wondering why any one would grow a wild shrub.

NTU was once a jungle. On both sides of the road to the campus, there are a line of Mickey Mouse shrubs.

Why do you think it is called Mickey Mouse tree? It's because the big leaves look like the ears of Mickey Mouse.

***We happen to call a plant which looks like yours, mickey mouse plant. It has yellow & red tiny flowers with black bean eyes. CP likes this plant. Chinese call it tea plant for its leaves look like tea leaves. Though the leaves are much bigger than the tea leaves. Comment by a reader in Malaysia***

No comments: