The Remarkable Trees of the MSI
Dr. Edgardo D. Gomez, University Professor Emeritus and National Scientist, spearheaded the work of labeling nearly 200 native plants that he himself planted and nurtured at the MSI grounds. The plant labels, which include the common name and the scientific name (with the Family indicated), serve as a tribute to the life of Leonard L. Co. They were made possible with funding from the father of Leonard, donated to the Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society, Inc. (PNPCSI). This is an advocacy professional organization founded in 2008 by the late Leonardo L. Co. PNPCSI “aims to contribute to Philippine native plant research and conservation by conducting scientific research; providing technical assistance, training and student mentorship; promoting the use of native plants in landscaping and reforestation; and increasing public awareness for the conservation of botanic resources in the country”.
Dr. Gomez explained that the MSI garden has several themes, namely: 1) Beach forest trees, 2) Dipterocarps, and 3) trees used in Philippine cuisines. Many are rare species, including endangered native trees. There are also representatives of trees and shrubs with nice flowers. There are presently about 50 species of beach forest trees or coastal species, half of which came from Dr. Jurgenne Primavera, a Ph.D. graduate of the UPMSI and world-renowned for her research on mangrove ecosystem conservation. The Philippines has 50 species of “dipterocarps”, known as the true hardwoods of the Philippines, such as yakal, guijo, apitong and lauan. At present, there are already 25 species planted at the MSI grounds. As the garden is still a work in progress, more details will be provided in due course, including a list and a map. (EDGomez, DRPante)