Friday, August 24, 2018

Let the feelings flow
For love, when its real, is rare and beautiful

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Steam Punk Friday

 Like a ridiculously armoured locomotive with legs, the Barydesmus or tractor millipede saunters across different terrains effortless thanks to its well syncronised limb movements. 

 .... this one looks like it's made by a carpenter....

... and this one looks like the work of an iron smith ....
....check out the copper coloured Selaginella which completes the surreal setting perfectly.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Sander's dream

Initially discovered in 1885 in Sarawak, this bizarre slipper orchid was thought to be extinct until it was rediscoverd in 1978. It was so rare and so sought-after that it became the plant poster-child of the ill-concieved Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES for short).

Instead of smothering the collection of plants in the wild, CITES actually increase the black market value of many slipper orchid species, most of which were rather drab and unexciting anyway but became interesting to collectors of the rare and contraband. There were also unofficial accounts that during the development of an air-strip in Mulu area, the habitat of limestone Paphiopedilums, including this species, was destroyed but no one took effort to salvage the plants for fear of infringing CITES regulations. Nowadays, it was reported to be only found only within the Mulu National Park, I am not sure if that is true now but its distribution used to be wider. 

The vegetative appearance of this plant is typical of many slipper orchids - fan-shaped array of stiff green leaves. Once the flowers emerges however, one will be intrigued by its extremely long pair of twisting petals and the gaudy stripped erect dorsal sepal. Many hybrids had been made of this but none match the flavours and the length of petals of the original.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Into the woods

Burning the road for three hours or so up north eventually lead us to a green heaven, albeit a steamy one.

As soon we stepped out of the cosy automobile into this sauna of a place, we were greeted by a welcome party ....

... a troop of dusky leaf monkey (Trachypithecus obscurus). These are obligate herbivores and most of them have a pot belly as digesting the leaves is a slow inefficient process and hence they tend to over eat. I consider them to be the most adorable monkey in Malaysia due to their peaceful nature and impish looking face.

This particular fearless young guy caught my eyes as it fed nonchalantly on the young leaves just above me.

Fallen while still so glorious, like Kim Jonghyun or James Dean before him perhaps ..... the spent bloom of an Syzgium.

The stilt roots of a tall Dillenia (possibly D. reticulata), showed that this area is seasonally flooded, especially during the year end monsoon.

We were stopped short by a singular tree with a population of these sap-sucking red-nosed lantern flies (Fulgoridae ).

From another angle they look even more ridiculous -  the function of the red-tipped horns remained elusive.

Amydrium medium is a climbing aroid with nice juvenile foliage that turns rather nondescript as it matures.

The rare small palm Licuala kiahii resides in this neck of the woods. East and West Malaysia has the highest diversity of Licuala in the world although to casual observers they look rather similar.

Pinanga disticha is a common palm in this area - it has beautiful mottled foliage. This has great horticultural value and is not difficult to grow in a sheltered location indoor.

 The very interesting Phyllanthus griffithii which is endemic in West Malaysia.

  The distinctive flower and fruits of a Sterculia....
... usually these are giant trees growing in more open area but this small species appear to prefer shade.

 A couple of the so called corpse flower follows - the common Amorphophallus paenifolius which is fruiting ....
....and the much rarer Amorphophallus bufo - which I have yet to see flower despite encountering them many times.
 ....and finally, what a glorious spot to wash our smelly dirty feet .....

"There's no wifi in the woods but you will find a better connection" ....hmmm I am not sure .... we were just trespassing this dark realm, like rolling stones really.....too keen to get back to our comfort zone, too impatient to sync with nature's channel....

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