Monday, August 23, 2010


Last Saturday's evening, as I was walking around Taman Samudera Timur, I came across a tree that looked very familiar among the overgrown Imperata cylindrica (lalang)in the vacant lot next to Indahwater sewage treatment area.

I went closer and touch its leaves. It was a Gucil tree! It had been ages since I last met a Gucil tree.

Do you know what a Gucil is? I am not sure what its botanical name is (I will loook it up later) but it is the tree that was a part of my childhood days.

It was the tree that brought me deep into Kampung Pulau Tempurung, Sakinan Choya's village, just to enjoy Gucil berries, either freshly plucked from the tree or pickled by her parents.

The berries, almost of the same size as Chee Kit Teck Aun stomach disorder pills, bunched up like a grape.

They are green when young and the colour changes from green to yellow, orange, red and finally black when fully ripened. The taste varies from sourish to sweet.

Sakinan was a smart girl. She brought Gucil berries to school and sold them to us. She got good money from the gift of nature.

A few feet away from the tree my eyes caught sight of a crawling plant, again looking very familiar.

It was the Ulat bulu berry plant. Unluckily all the berries were still young. The berries are usually encased in a special net to protect them from birds who just love to pluck them. When ripe, the berries change from green to bright yellow. When opened, there are seeds covered with jelly like material on the outside.

When I was small I used to go around the village looking for them, these ulat bulu berries.

Well some may not appreciate these gifts from mother nature, but I know I do. They are there not just for the birds, but also for us if we are inquisitive enough to look for them.

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