Monday, October 26, 2009


NARRA tree (Pterocarpus Indicus) - there are two forms enumerated in Justo P. Rojo's book, Revised LEXICON OF PHILIPPINE TREES.

- Narra (Pterocarpus Indicus forma Indicus) with smooth seed pods
- Prickly Narra (Pterocarpus Indicus forma Echinatus) with prickly seed pods

Both recognized forms are highly regarded as ornamental trees and prized for their much sought lumber to be used as furniture, construction and decorative elements for houses or decorative items which require the use of wood. Although I believe that there may be other forms which we may not be aware of. Some species possess characteristics of having broad leaves, narrow small leaves, upright acute stems, drooping stems, whitish-yellowish-orange-red colored lumber and even flowers may differ from yellow variants to orange colored flowers. I have even heard of a local from Laguna speak of a Narra tree called "Puting Narra" or white Narra tree, which is very fast growing in my observation compared to others. Whichever it is, I hope that experts will be able to distinguish and classify them accordingly since it is our National Tree.

The Narra tree is an indigenous tree. This means that it is also native and can be found in other countries as well. Does this mean that other countries can also declare it as their national tree? There are endemic (found only in a specific area or country) trees that can be found in the Philippines that deserve equal or higher recognition than the narra tree such as the White and Red Lauan, Mangkono and Bagras, but why is Narra still our national tree? The only reason I can think of is because the Narra tree can be found throughout the Philippines, it is an ornamental tree that produce clusters of bright yellow or orange flowers and that it is a widely used lumber especially in the furniture industry.

In your opinion, is the Narra tree deserving to be our Philippine National Tree? Please share your comments and suggestions below.


miss_panda said...

Yes it is deserving to be our national tree. I think that it is like the Filipinos in a number of ways.
First it is strong and does not easily yield to wind or axe.
Second is its flowers.
I love the Narra trees' flowers. :D It is like us in a way that although it is small, and barely recognizable, its packed with a lot of fragrance especially when it rains down during the month of March and creates a golden path. :D just like us. Right? :D

(It's really a pretty sight to see...the Philippine style of hana fukubu or snow petal storm :D)

Third yes... it IS everywhere and can survive almost everywhere. Just like we Filipinos haha.
So many connections and symbols to see, realize and think. I believe that these reasons are enough for me to believe that we should recognize this common tree for it is like us in a number of ways.

I know that im looking at this in a symbolic manner but well haha...:D

tristan said...

Hello Miss Panda! Thank you for sharing your insights about our Philippine national tree. You have shared a number of possitive points. I do appreciate and admire your keen observantion on this particular trees character and being able to compare it to the strengths of our people.

Cheers to people like you who know how to celebrate life and be able to stop and notice the simple and beautiful things nature has to offer.

tristan said...

By the way, I haven't chance upon a flower of a narra tree that has a scent. If there's a narra tree that you know of with flowers of aromatic scent, can you please inform me because I would be interested to propagate it.


Anonymous said...

hello,may i know the basic elements of narra tree?

Rico said...

To Anonymous: Are you referring to the habitat and nature of a Narra tree?

The Narra tree in my observation and from what I know belongs to the molave type forest, although it also exists in coastal areas and the dipterocarp forests as well. Here in the Philippines it is found throughout the country. Narra grows best near rivers and streams where the soil is moist and provided that there is ample to full sunlight for proper development of this species. Generally, all leguminous species are sun loving trees.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this article quite by accident. even so I woudl like to share my thoughts on this wonderful tree.

Narras are my favorite trees. I fall in love with them over and over again every summer when they bloom and dust the city sidewalks with their spent petals and delicately scent the air with their fragrance. Seeing a narra is bloom is an instant stress reliever for me.
I am sad when it seems like I am the only one who appreciates the sight of summer-time narras in our neighborhood. I hope one day, more of our people can truly appreciate our homeland's nature, especially trees like the narra.

Anonymous said...

This is to share to everyone what narra truly is.
First: Narra is associated with molave type forest, which means that it thrives in stressful environment, although it can be found throughout the Philippines. Molave type forest is found in areas where the soil type is calcareous or limestone type.
Second: Being in limestone area, this tree is considered as stress tolerant. This means that it is slow growing.
Third: The flowers of narra is yellow and unscented.
Fourth: Narra sheds off its leaves in December to conserve its energy for the nearing flowering season. Leaves can be seen springing in January til March, which means that its flowers bloom in June and not during summer.

Rico said...

Anonymous, thanks for sharing your thoughts about our Narra tree. One thing I will disagree with you is that I have chanced upon smelling the flowers of a Narra tree and it does smell mildly fragrant........I bet you haven't really tried sniffing the flowers. Try it! :)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I love your comment miss panda hahahah..

Pio Danilo P. Cuadra said...

yeah, and all my furniture; from my oval eight-seater dining table, chinaware cabinet, sala sets and aparadors are made of yellow narra. already around 25 years old. I purchased them in Agusan del Sur in early nineties.

Rico said...

Hi Pio, I am curious what you can say about the quality of wood or furniture made from a yellow Narra as compared to a red Narra wood, would you know? Please do share your thoughts. Thanks and thank you for posting your comments.

Rico said...

Hi Pio, I am curious what you can say about the quality of wood or furniture made from a yellow Narra as compared to a red Narra wood, would you know? Please do share your thoughts. Thanks and thank you for posting your comments.

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