Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rescued

Many years ago I salvaged an interesting cutting of Hoya wrapped around a fallen log. The log and its entanglements originated somewhere in the catchment area but was felled and dragged to the existing location - outside a toilet of a public park .... and left to cook under the glare of the tropic sun. An elusive bloom earlier this year verified that it was Hoya scortechinii which is very rare in Singapore, although it could still be found infrequently in other countries. In fact, its occurence on the tiny red dot was only formally documented in 2011. The corolla is usually photographed when it curved backwards but I managed to capture the early moments when it had just opened. 

Singapore is in a floristically rich region and many species were rediscovered or recorded for the first time only recently - amongst them Hoyas (H. coronaria 2006 and H. caudata 2012) Gesneriads (Aeschynanthus albidus 2008) and Orchids (Liparis barbata 2010 and Vrydagzynea lancifolia 2014). It is unfortunate we are also in the mist of a dramatic population growth and development phase which will test the resolve to preserve whatever nature there is left.

Vrydagzynea lancifolia
Vrydagzynea lancifolia
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Small urns

Hoya heuschkeliana from PNG - a  small species with interesting tiny flowers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A mass flowering event

There is a fleeting explosion of blooms on the otherwise plain-looking canes of a Thrixspermum species during the rainy season. The flowers are at their best in the cool morning - by mid-noon, most of them would have deteriorated into sticky globs.


Thrixspermum comprises 100 plus species of small to mid-size old-world orchids with a vandaceous growth pattern. I cannot pin down the exact name of this one as I had it for years and could not even recall its habitat locality but it does not look like the usual local species like centipeda or acuminatissimum. Many of them have similar blooms and one needs to examine them in details to determined its exact identity. The long sepals and petals makes this a very eye-catching species but the genus as a whole does not capture too many fans due to its ephemeral and smallish flowers. This particular plant can take light shade to full sun and is rather maintenance-free as long as high humidity is maintained.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A nasty little stinker - Amorphophallus cirrifer

On two occasions where my Amorphophallus cirrifer bloomed, I was checking my sandals and the surrounding for traces of dog poop. It really smelled like one, and although I have plenty of smelly plants in the collection, this one was so bad it made me want to puke.

This medium size plant is found in deciduous forests in central Thailand and had been known in the west since 1920s although it remained rare in cultivation until the e-trading era.
The inflorescence tried its best to mimic a dead rat - its very short flower stalk, the liver-coloured spathe and its grotesque long tapering hairy spadix that looked like the tail. And of course its odour - taking closeup pictures without a telephoto lens is a self-inflicted torture.  In terms of carrion mimicry, its right up there with the likes of Helicodiceros muscivorus and a few others mentioned in a round-up of smelly ugly plants.

This plant has a very long tuber which will pull the plant lower as it grows so it has to be kept in a deep pot . This plant is relatively new for me and I am still learning as it goes so any advice will be appreciated.

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