GEORGE TOWN: It looks like spring has arrived in Penang as trees are blossoming with flowers all around.

Tecoma or Malaysian Sakura trees here are resplendent in their full glory of white, pink and purple.

Penang Botanic Gardens research officer D. Thachayni said the sudden blooms were due to changes in the weather.

“After a drought followed by sudden rain, which is what we are currently experiencing, there will be flowers blooming.

“Right now, Penang is supposed to be experiencing dry weather, but if you noticed, it has been quite dry for around a month, then suddenly now there is rain.

“This drastic weather change has caused the trees to flower,” she said.

Thachayni said the dry season is normally from the end of November to March, and it will start to rain around the end of March.

“This time however, it rained until the middle of December last year and now, despite the heat, we still have bouts of cold weather and rain in Malaysia.

“Even in Penang, it was raining until mid-December last year.

“The current short bursts of rain have contributed to the trees flowering,” she said.

Thachayni said not all plants share the same flowering season, however.

“We don’t have four seasons in Malaysia, so it is different for the plants here.

“Some of them are sensitive to the weather like the Tabebuia rosea (cherry blossom), commonly planted around the streets here.

“Certain plants and trees in the Botanical Gardens here have started to flower earlier as well, triggered by the sudden cold showers.

“This is because plants can sense climate change,” she said.

Former Penang Botanic Gardens curator Dr Saw Leng Guan said Penang has a more distinct dry period and when this is followed by a bout of cold weather or cold showers, the trees are “triggered”.

“A drop in temperature triggers the trees to flower.

“Over the southern part of the country, where dry periods are not so distinct, they do not get ample flowering like here in Penang.

“This is a yearly occurrence in Penang where there are ample blooms,” he said.