Found saga seeds on a rocky beach at Pulau Ubin last Saturday. The little red hearts caught me by surprise. Looking around, we finally found the tree 2 meters from the shore. Its crown just above us on the beach. Couldn't resist taking a photo. After some color edits, makes a superb wallpaper. I didn't do a very good job of capturing the heart which eats away at me every so often.
In mandarin, saga seeds are referred to as xiang si dou (相思豆) which means to mutually think or miss each other. Often used as a momento of love between couples. Childhood past time includes collecting these seeds during weekend trips to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. A few still sits on my dresser at home. A large specimen stands tall in the grounds of the St Andrew Cathedral downtown.
An insurmountable divide between the lovelorn hearts
According to this seemingly lovesick monkey's handy guide to wayside trees of Singapore by Prof Wee YC, Saga (Adenanthera pavonina) is native to Singapore and "the region".
"The fruits attract attention as the red seeds, littering the ground below are collected by children and made into beads or as playthings. the fruits are green pods, swollen along regular intervals where the seeds are. With maturity the pods turn brown, becoming coiled then black as the pods split open to liberate the red seeds."