Skyflower or Pigeon Berry

The exciting and ultimately heartbreaking events of the past three weeks (the laying of eggs, their successful hatching, and the tragic deaths of the four bulbul chicks, not even a week old, made me wonder about the bush the birds chose as the location for their nest. After some research on the Internet I learnt the plant’s common name (Skyflower or Pigeon Berry) and its scientific name (Duranta erecta). Although it originates from tropical Americas, it’s very popular in southern Taiwan, presumably due to the abundance of the small blue flowers it produces throughout the year. Since blue is a comparatively rare colour in nature, Skyflower will enhance any garden arrangement and nicely balance its overall spectrum.

The plant also produces fruit, small yellow berries, which are reportedly toxic to humans and other mammals. Yet, many songbirds eat them with no consequence.

I took the photo below on an overcast afternoon, with rain pouring from dark clouds (we are in the middle of the wet season that usually lasts a month or two – from laste April to early June). Since the light conditions weren’t exactly perfect for a hand-held camera I was forced to use flash, but in the end I found the result rather pleasing. The out-of-focus background that includes a red flower (it’s a Clerodendrum speciosissimum) greatly enhances the image without stealing the spotlight from the lovely lavender-like colours of the Skyflower.

 

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Skyflower (Duranta erecta)

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