As we head into the forest in the centre of Aride Island a few lizards scuttle in front of us and fairy terns sit on the branches above us, watching as we pass by.
Soon we arrive at an interesting tree with white flowers that have fallen on the ground beneath it. This plant is used by local fishermen, as it contains a sort of anaesthetic that can paralyse the fish. The fishermen fill nets with the flowers and throw them into the water. The fish are attracted to the scent of the flower, however when they come towards it they are affected by the anaesthetic and float to the surface, where the fishermen can collect them.
The barringtonia asiatica is also known as the sea poison tree. The beautiful flowers with their white stamens tipped with pink, open up at night and attract large moths and nectar feeding bats with their heavy scent. The lantern shaped fruits can float on water and survive for up to two years. They were the among the first fruits to be found on the island of Krakatau when it emerged out of the sea. All parts of the tree contain a poison called saponin and can be pounded, pulped or grated to release the poison to stun the fish.
- Information provide by Variety Cruises
- Information signs at Aride island