The hospitable hog plum

Richard ffrench


ln my garden at Pointe-a-Pierre one tree dominates the scene. It is a full-grown Hog Plum, Spondias mombin, well-known to Trinidadians and beloved by small children for its tasty orange fruits. Our tree is about 50 feet tall and its spreading branches cover a rough circle with a diameter of 30 yards. It is well festooned with bromeliads (wild pines) and there are sizeable clumps of bird-vine, Phthirusa, in the upper branches. We have always found numbers of birds using the tree, for food in the nectar, fruit and insects, and for rest and shelter; but we were most interested during 1971 m the number of different birds using the tree for nesting. Altogether eight species nested in the tree during the year.

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