Monday, October 12, 2009

Q&A: What native Philippine tree to plant when starting up a RAINFORESTATION PROJECT? .... KUPANG (Parkia Timoriana) is what I would suggest.

In my opinion, I would suggest "KUPANG" with scientific name Parkia Timoriana (also known as P. Javanica) as ONE OF THE BEST PHILIPPINE NATIVE SPECIES TO PLANT WHEN STARTING A RAINFORESTATION PROJECT. This is due to the following reasons:

Fast growing. This pioneer tree will be able to give ample sun and shade to other shade loving premium forest trees growing under it.

Leguminous tree. It is able to fix its own nitrogen requirements with the help from a soil bacteria called rhizobium that live within the roots of leguminous plants and trees, thus it can grow with even the poorest type of soil. The roots together with its fallen leaves will provide nitrogen that will be beneficial for other trees within its proximity, bringing back soil fertility that was lost from continued harvesting of crops.

Sun loving and shade tolerant. It is able to grow under full sunlight and is also able to adjust under shaded areas, therefore this tree will still thrive under opposite conditions.

Easy Access. Seedlings are readily available at the Manila Seedling Bank. Since the tree is able to produce numerous seeds within seedpods, there will always be a steady supply of seedlings to grow. A fairly common tree especially in Metro Manila, Laguna and other parts of the country.

High germination rate and good viability of seeds upon long storage. Some seeds that I have stored for two years now are still germinating upto today when sowed.

Unreceptive to pests and diseases and will easily outgrow grass and vines. I think that this is a common characteristic that leguminous tree species share and possess. They are very hardy especially when established in full sun.

Branches are flexible and strong enough from wind breakage. Branches and trunk seem to sway whenever there are strong winds. It can hold its stance and never have I seen it topple down or break its limb. However, I must admit that I haven't seen a mature Kupang tree under the mercy of a strong typhoon. (will follow-up on this issue upon confirmation)

Medicinal. I have read that the bark and leaves of this tree is made into a poultice and applied to skin infections and sores. The bark is also used to treat diarrhea and dysentery. Seeds are said to treat persistent abdominal pain.

Edible. According to some literature, the pods and seeds are edible. Although I haven't tried it, I will certainly welcome the idea of tasting this delicacy. Roasted seeds are used in Africa similar to coffee called Soudan coffee.

Source of lumber. The lumber from this tree is often used for light construction.


Anonymous said...

Kupang is not a softwood but a hardwood. Softwood refers to the conifers and hardwoods to the broad leaves and therefore the terms (softwood and hardwood) refers to the botanical groupings. The terms "soft wood" and hard wood" refers to the mechanical properties of wood.

Dennis P. from Leyte

Rico said...

Hi Dennis! Thanks for reading my blog. Thank you also for correcting me that Kupang is not a softwood, but is considered a hardwood species. I have made the necessary changes above.

Thank you again and happy reading.

Anonymous said...

Sir / Mam,
I would like to plant Kupang Tree in our place, May I request on you to please send me seeds. Hoping that you may grant my request... Thank you very much...

Danury Obcena
Coral, Paniqui, Tarlac

Rico said...

Danury, I don't have Kupang seeds right now. If I am able to collect seeds, I will inform you here.

Thanks for the inquiry.

Kirstz @ tree planting Philippines said...

Kupang sounds very interesting tree. This is also my first time to see and have knowledge about this tree after reading your blog. I am impressed on this Kupang tree because we can use it in a different ways like it can be a medicine that can help us in many ways. Thanks for sharing this information.

Expat in Philippines said...


Thanks for the excellent information you have posted on medicinal
plants in the Philippines. I used it as a guide while writing my blog
on my recent trek in Subic bay - Pamulaklakin forest.

I liked your webpage so much - I have put a link to it, under the
"further reading" category. Just see the bottom of the blog page.

I have posted photos and my trip report here -

(PS - Just in case you are curious, we saw the balete tree, saw the
sap of rubber tree and smelled it's aroma, saw dereta tree - used for
malaria, saw koopang, kamagung, drank water from the branches of okpoy
and ate the shoots of kupuhan.

By the way, I still cannot find the official zoological name for okpoy
- you can see it's photo in teh middle of the blog. Can you help
identify it?

Do go through it, and let me know how you find it.

You can see photos and details of my travels around the Philippines
here -
You can see photos and details of my travels around the Philippines
here -


Anonymous said...

is their any study or article about rodents infestation on Kupang??? thank you.....

Rico said...

Why do you ask this? I guess that it is general to say that rodents such as rats will eat the seeds of Kupang if they had access to it since the seeds could also be considered as beans that is rich in protein. Only if the seeds were not stored properly.

Regarding sowed or germinated seeds, there is no incidence with my plantings being infested by rodents.

Is there a basis for this question of yours? I'd like to know where this is coming from so that I can properly assess your problem.


Anonymous said...

yes we have isolated cases of dead kupang seedlings in our plantation and suspected to be caused by rats. i just want to ask why this incident happened? is it because of the wood composition of kupang or its smell.

here is my e-mail add so we could discuss about this matter privately and i can also share some photos of the dead seedlings i took recently..

thank you...

Clark Villasante said...

Good p.m. ate and kuya, I'm a bs-biology , i need help for my current research. because i used this specimen(tree) for my study. anyone can help me kung saan ito makikita sa pinas? contact me please: 09154242664

Anonymous said...

Hi Tristan,

Thanks for your blog. Very informative and because of folks like you native trees and reforestation awareness has really gained traction. Do you think you can list some more indigenous nitrogen fixing trees? Thank you.

Maned M. said...

Where can we get planting materials for this tree?

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