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DLSU-D's rich biodiversity

by Environmental Resource Management Center

Posted on November 4, 2016 at 4:00 PM

In line with November being declared as the National Environmental Awareness Month (RA 9512), ERMaC will be sharing to the DLSU-D community information about the University's environmentally related programs and resources.

DLSU-D is known for being rich in biodiversity. One of the resident birds in the University is the White Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris Sibley and Monroe) whose call has a distinctive and harsh sounding “krek krek krek.” Usually observed near the DLSU-D lake. Fish, lizards, small snakes, insects, tadpoles and earthworms usually comprise its diet.

Birds are excellent indicators of the quality of our ecosystem. Since birds are found on top of the food chain, the presence of birds indicate a still healthy ecosystem.

DLSU-D is also home to the Impatiens Caviteana, which is an endemic plant species found only in Cavite.

Here is the list of resident trees and birds that call DLSU-D home.

Bird Species Description

Red Turtle Dove
(Streptopelia tanquebarica Herman)


Usually found on large trees along DLSU-D’S Lake avenue and Acacia grains including herbs, buds and young leaves. The call of this bird is described as “cru-u-u-u-u” or  “goo-goo-goo”, repeated several times. Like many doves, this bird creates a platform nest of twigs, placed usually 3-8 m. high on a tree.

Pied Fantail
(Phipidura nigritorquis Vigors)


In birding terminology, the word “pied” means black and white. It has a tail that, when expanded, looks like a fan. Known in Filipino as maria cafra and tarerekoy in Bisaya, the Pied Fantail has many different metallic, chime-like calls. Usually residing in the University’s mango trees, this bird is very territorial and has been observed to attack cats, even dogts while protecting its air space. Insects are its usual diet.

Lowland White-eye
(Zonsterops meyeni Bonaparte)

This bird is the country’s pride because it is only found in the Philippines (i.e endemic) and is called “Matang Dulong” in Tagalog. Lowland white-eyes are usually found in the University’s Event Center and at the parking area at the back of ULS. This bird can be distinguished from its call of swit or swit-tzee.

Brown Shrike
(Lanius cristatus Linnaeus)

This bird is a common sight in the University especially in the Botanical Garden, Event Center and High School campus. Known locally as “Tarat” or “Pakis-kis” the male shrike sings a repeated “jun-jun-jun” and/or “kichi-kichi-kichi” Its favorite food are insects especially beetles.

Little Egret
(Egretta garzetta Linnaeus)

This bird is not actually a resident of the University but a regular visitor during summer. Coming usually from East Asia, these birds migrate to Southeast Asia to find food and to breed. An adult and breeding Little Egret can be distinguished by the characteristic plumes (feathers) on the back of the head, lower throat, and back.

Golden-bellied Flyeater
(Gerygone sulphurea simplex Cabanis)

A frequent site in the University Dormitory, food square and the Museo complex, this bird can be distinguished by its slurred whezzy song usually a descending zwee- zwee- zwee. It’s usual diet are insects.

Crested Myna
(Acridotheres cristatellus Linn.)

The Crested Myna is common in Luzon island and other parts of China Indochina. This bird which is usually seen along the University Dormitory, ERMac and CBAA places its nest in tree holes and its calls can be distinguished by clear whistling notes. Usual diet are fruits and insects.

Yellow-vented Passerine
(Pycnonotus goiavier Scopoli)

Known in Bisaya as Kulkul and by the agtas as Pagek-Pak, this bird is a common sight in the University’s Lake Avenue and Acacia Road. A common bird of Southeast Asia, this bird has a rich bubbling song that is often heard in the early morning and late evening. Plants are its usual diet.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow
(Passer montanus Linn.)

The most ubiquitous bird and usually mistaken as the former national bird of the Philippines, this bird locally known as Mayang simbahan is found in all areas of the University. This is the culprit bird that eats leftover rice in the canteens, Mayas are found in almost all countries in Europe and Asia. It feeds on grains and bread.

Pacific Swallow
(Hirundo tahitica Gmelin)

Pacific swallows are small passerine birds found in the islands of the Pacific which includes the Philippines. A common bird of the Philippines and usually seen within the University dormitory, It is a very fast flyer and loves to eat insects.

Glossy swiftlet
(Collocalia esculenta Linn.)

The most common among the swifts, this bird is frequently seen at the PCH and Ayuntamiento building gliding and giving a twittering call.

A University within a Forest Garden

As of 2015, DLSU-D has 1,396 resident trees coming from 64 species. Covering about 30% of the University’s land area these trees give shade, replenish water supply, provide a living instructional resource, absorb pollution, reduce electricity cost and offer priceless aesthetic function to the community

Trees Species Description

Indian Banyan Tree
(Ficus benghalensis Linn.)

This is the magnificent tree that greets anyone that approaches the CBAA building. Known as “baleteng-baging” in Tagalog, this tree is said to be about 100 years old (truly a heritage tree!). Balete trees are considered by biologists as a “Keystone” species because they are very important to a lot of organisms especiallt frugivores (fruit-eating animals). In 2011 and in celebration of the UN Decade of Biodiversity in SEA, President Aquino declared Balete trees as heritage trees. Known and associated more with supernatural beings in Philippine folklore, studies have proven that it has potential anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Palawan Cherry
(Cassia sp.)

The tree found adjacent the Gregoria Montoya Hall (Admin. Building), Palawan Cherry (fondly called Balayong by the people of Palawan) is comparable to the Japanese Cherry blossoms. Blooms during summer as shown in the picture, Balayong trees were used during the Spanish time as furniture trees. Today, it is considered as an ornamental tree.

Narra (Rosewood)
(Pterocarpus indicus Willd.)

This tree is the second most numerous tree in the DLSU-D campus. Narra trees line impressively the sidewalks starting from the MTH covered court , Admin building parking up to University dormitory. The national tree of the Philippines, Narra trees are protected by law that it would require the permission of the DENR secretary for it to be cut. Its genus name is Pterocarpus which means “winged fruit/seed” referring to its flat winged pods.

Mango Tree
(Mangifera indica Linn.)

Mangga in Filipino, Mango trees in DLSU-D are found in the University Batibot (which is said to be about 70 years old!), in the High School compound and dormitories. The word indica in its botanical name denotes its origin which is India. Mango trees have religious significance for Hindus and Buddhist and its fruit has been said to be the “king of the fruits”. It is also the national fruit of the Philippines, India and Pakistan.

Rain Tree
(Albizia saman (Jacq.) F.Muell.)

Often mistaken as an Acacia, Rain Trees are the most numerous trees in DLSU-D. These are the magnificent trees providing shade to passersby of Lake Avenue, Acacia Road and P. Campos Road (going to Alumni Building). “Rain Tree” alludes to tree’s habit of folding up leaves before rain. The name “saman” comes from the Spanish word zaman (which means Mimosa-like tree or Makahiya tree). According to studies, a Rain Tree with a 15 meter crown diameter absorbs 28.5 tons of CO2 annually. Truly contributing much in DLSU-D’s efforts in becoming a carbon-neutral University.

Weeping Fig
(Ficus benjamina Linn)

Also known locally as balete, Weeping figs are the dominant trees lining the parking area fronting the PCH and JFH buildings. The bark of the tree can be used as a rope and leaves has many medical properties. Used mainly as an ornamental, the tree is a favorite plant of bonsai growers.

(Cynometra ramiflora Linn.)

Chosen for being able to absorb toxic substances from the atmosphere due to pollution, DLSU-D planted Balitbitan as its centennial tree during the celebration of the 100 years of Lasallian presence in the Philippines last 2011. These trees are most numerous in the parking area of Ugnayang La Salle. It has a dense crown, its canopy covered with white-green or green-orange when its young leaves emerge.

Benguet Pine
(Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gordon)

Unknown to many, DLSU-D has species of pine trees. These trees stand majestic adjacent to the University’s solar-powered covered walk from ULS to CBAA building. During the Spanish colonial period Benguet pines were sources of tyrpentine – a chemical used for the production of furniture varhishes and camphor liniments.

White Leadtree
(Leucaena leucocephala Lam)

Known locally as Ipil-ipil and santa-elena in Tagalog and Loiloi in Cebuano, Ipil-ipil trees are found at the back of the Aklatang Emilio Aguinaldo and the Botanical Garden. Since this species was brought by the Spaniards in the Philippines through Mexico (Spanish name is Guaje), Ipil-ipil trees can be considered as an introduced species or exotic species. In some provinces, the seeds of this plant is used as a coffee substitute.

Fire Tree
(Delonix regia (Hook) Raf.)

Before the end of the summer months, every pedestrian and motorist passing through the University’s Oval road will not fail to observe and be awed at the Fire Trees in full bloom. This tree was introduced to the Philippines during Spanish colonial period.

Some Christians in India call this tree kaalvarippoo which means the flower of Calvary. They believed that when Jesus was crucified, there was a small fire tree nearby his Cross. It is believed that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed over the flowers of the tree and this is how the flowers of the tree got its sharp red color.

Indian Coral Tree (Dapdap)
(Erythrina variegata Linn. var. orientalis (Linn.))

Pedestrians coming from the University Food Square and going yo the covered walk or to the Ladislao Diwa Hall will never miss these imposing Dapdap trees fronting the Lake Park. Characterized by a trunk with thorns, Dapdap trees are native to Southeast Asia, India and Australia.

Usually found near the shores, these trees are used to wrap fermented meat in Vietnam. Its leaves decocted and used as cough and fever treatment in the Philippines and in most countries as an ornamental tree due to its bright red flowers.

Liechhardt Tree (Bangkal)
(Nauclea orientalis Linn.)

Bangkal trees surround the DLSU-D Lake. Quite rare nowadays especially in urban areas, Bangkal trees grow best near riverbanks and serve as a good protection from strong winds during typhoons for houses living near high risk areas.

In the Philippines, Bangkal leaves are applied to boils and tumors. Bark extract is sad to be antidiarrhetic and a cure for toothache. When mixed with Dita, it can be used as himughat (as a preventive against relapse or binat (Tagalog) or bughat (Cebuano), a condition in which a patient falls back to illness after apparent recovery).

Common Fan Palm (Anahaw)
(Saribus rotundifolius (Lam.) Blume)

Anahaw trees are found at the back of Aklatang Emilio Aguinaldo, Male Dormitory, Museo De La Salle and the Lake Park.

The national leaf of the Philippines, Anahaw tree trunks are used as house posts by early Filipinos. The outer part of the trunk, when removed and split, is used as flooring. The wood is hard and is good for making bows, spars, shafts, canes and walking sticks.

Kamagong (Mobolo)
(Diospyros philippensis (Desr.) Gurke)

Kamagong or velvet apple is an endangered tree species and protected by Philippine law – it is illegal to export kamagong timber from the country without special permission from the DENR. In DLSU-D, kamagong trees are found in the Botanical Garden.

It is native to the Philippines meaning it was already a resident of the Philippines even before the Spaniards came. Kamagong usually refres to the entire tree and mabolo talang is applied to the fruit

Pili Tree
(Canarium ovatum Engl.)

No need to go to the Bicol region to see a Pili tree since our Botanical Garden has numerous Pili trees.

Pili Trees are native to Southeast Asia and is believed to be the next “Tree of Life” since it has immense use for humans. But, perhaps aside from its fruit, its most desirable part is its sap from which a valuable resin called elemi is tapped from the bark. Locally known as “salong, sahing, pulot or pilit” the elemi gives out an essential oil called limonene, which is used in the manufacture of perfumes.

Cananga Tree (Ylang-Ylang)
(Cananga odorata (Lam) Hook & Thompson)

Ilang-ilang (Tagalog) or Allangigan (Ilokano) Trees are numerous around the DLSU-D Lake. It is a tropical tree that is native to the Philippines. Tagalog word “Ilang-ilang” came from the “Ilang” which means “wilderness”, referring to the tree’s natural habitat.

Known for its fragrant essential oil, Ilang-ilang flowers, together with the flowers of the Sampaguita, are strung into a necklace (lei) and worn by women and used to adorn religious images in the Philippinbes.

Indian Almond Tree (Talisai)
(Terminalia catappa L.)

Talisai tree or Indian Almond tree or Umbrella tree is a native is a native tree common in Southeast Asia, Australia and India. Large Talisai trees greet anyone who enteres the Mariano Trias Hall (MTH) and the University Food Square.

Talisai trees are cultivated because they provide deep shade and its fruit (kernel) may be eaten raw roasted and tastes like almonds. As a medicinal plant, its leaf decoction is used as purgative to eliminate intestinal worms.

Earleaf Acacia
(Acacia auriculiformis A. Cunn)

In the Philippines, these trees are called Acacia or Akasya. Acacia trees, like the one fronting the CBAA building, are found in various places in DLSU-D.

Acacia is a fast growing tree. It is, according to studies, particularly drought resistant. But it can also tolerate seasonally waterlogged soils and can also grow in poor soils. Some studies also showed that Acacia trees can absorb toxic chemicals from former mining sites.

Mast Tree
(Polyathia longifolia Sonn)

Sometimes referred to as Buddha tree or False Ashoka Tree, Mast trees are popular among landscape designers because of its ability to reduce noise pollution. In DLSU-D, Mast trees are found around Julian Felipe Hall, Retreat and conference Center, Ugnayang La Salle Parking near University Grandstand and the Lake Park.

Mast trees originated from India and Sri Lanka but already distributed worldwide due to its use as a hedge tree or visual dividers in large gardens. In India, the tree has been used for treating fever, skin diseases, hypertension and parasitic infections.

Eucalyptus (Bagras)
(Eucalyptus deglupta Blume)

If anyone happens to walk around the Paulo Campos Hall or visit the faculty rooms of the COS Building, it would be difficult not to encounter the imposing Eucalyptus trees or Mindanao gum. This tree is unique because it is able to create a spectrum of color by the peeling of its smooth bark.

The scent of these trees are believed to repel mosquitoes that its oil essences are also used for therapeutic purposes. The leaves can be decocted to become tea and used in treating cough and asthma. It is also used as treatment to malaria and bacterial infections.

Traveler’s Tree
(Ravenala madagascariensis Sonn)

Any pedestrian visiting ERMaC will always be greeted by this tree. Endemic to Madagascar, this this is named “Traveler’s tree” because the sheaths of the stems is able to hold rainwater, which for the needy traveler can be used as an emergency source of water. Other literatures provide another plausible reason for its name – that the fan tends to grow on an east-west line, providing a crude compass.

Living Christmas Tree
(Araucaria heterophylla Franco)

DLSU-D does not need to erect artificial Christmas trees during Christmas for its has its own Living Christmas tree found within the Botanical Garden and is available all year round (only needed are the decorations and the ceremonial lighting!).

Also known as Norfolk Island pine or Star pine, these trees are commonly planted in parks and gardens in the Philippines. Since the plant is not native to the Philippines, there are no reported folkloric medicinal uses of this tree.

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