Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Taipei Cityscape

In the morning of Saturday, October 4th, Grace had a facial appointment. After droping her off, I took the camera and had a walk on DunHua South Road (敦化南路). Together with RenAi Road (仁愛路), they are considered to be the two most beautiful boulevards in Taipei. When I look at the photographs, I even wonder whether they were taken in Taipei. DunHa South Road is a six-lane boulevard lined with high-rise buildings on both sides  and with two central islands filled with trees. The central islands are almost park-like. It was flowering season for the trees. I was curious of what kind of the trees they were. They are Flamegold tree (台灣欒樹). The scientific name is Koelreuteria elegans formosana (Hyata). It is a native species of Taiwan. In Taiwan, the often used scientific name is Koelreuteria henryi Dummer. The Englishman, A. Henry collected the specimen then Dummer named the tree in 1912. Koelreuteria formosana Hyata was named by Japanese in 1913, thus the Dummer's name should take precedent. It is also called four-color tree in Taiwan; because it has green leaves in the summer, the flowers in October are yellow, the fruits are red and the seeds are brown.

The Flamegold tree forms a small ecosystem of itself. The flower and the fruit attract Red Cotton Bug (赤星椿象, Dysdercus cingulatus). You can actually see the bugs flying around the flowers at the tree top in one of my pictures. The bugs then attract the Striated Swallows (赤腰燕, Hirundo striolata), that eat them.

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