Ochna kirkii Oliv.

Etymology Genus
Wild pear; reference to plant is unknown
Species After Sir John Kirk (Scottish physican & naturalist) or Thomas Kirk (writer on New Zealand plants)
Synonyms -
Common Names Mickey Mouse Plant
Status Exotic: Casual (Teo et al., 2011)
Form Shrub
Native Distribution Tropical Africa

Diagnostic: A shrub that flowers and fruits all year round. The fruits are especially conspicuous. The sepals and stamens turn red when the fruits develop, and the unripe fruits are green which turn to black. Vegetatively, the branches bear many white lenticels, and the leaves have short bristles lining the margins.

Interesting Facts: The earliest record of Ochna kirkii in Singapore was in 1933 in the Singapore Botanic Gardens (Singapore Herbarium Online, 2012). Spontaneous plants have been seen in urban areas and forest fringes (Secondary forest in Jurong, MacRitchie Reservoir forest, Sungei Loyang scrubland, Pulau Ubin scrubland, coastal forest in Coney Island) (Teo et al., 2011).

Its endearing common name, the Mickey Mouse Plant, comes from the fact that its clusters of dark fruitlets surrounded by the red sepals, and supplemented by the persistent red stamens look somewhat like the Walt Disney cartoon character.

Ochna kirkii
The boundary of Punggol Park is surrounded by Ochna kirkii.
 
Ochna kirkii   Ochna kirkii
The leaves are always slightly curled. White lenticels covering the branches. Note the bristles lining the leaf margins.
 
Ochna kirkii  
Young leaves are reddish.    
     
Ochna kirkii   Ochna kirkii
Flower. Note the green-yellow sepals behind the petal.   The sepals turn red and encapsulate the fruits.

References

Teo S, KY Chong, YF Chung, BR Kurukulasuriya & HTW Tan. (2011) Casual establishment of some cultivated urban plants in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 4: 127–133.

Singapore Herbarium Online. (2012) Singapore Herbarium Online. Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford. http://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/sing. Accessed on 14-Jan-2013.

 
Posted on 14-Jan-2012 / Last Updated on 14-Jun-2014
Family: Ochnaceae