Sunday, April 20, 2014

Surreal texture .... Alocasia melo

This is a rare small Alocasia from Sabah with textural leaves that feel like cardboard. It had been in cultivation since 1960s but the exact habitat was not known until sometime in 1990s where K.M. Wong,  A. Hayes and P Boyce found them growing on ultramafic river banks in the lowland of Sabah and eventually gave it a name in 1997. 

Below is the painting made by Mary Grierson from the specimen grown in Kew in 1960s.

  
The plant had been made available commercially but is still not very common. According to literature,  plants in the Australian botanical garden had been growing in free draining mixture with 75% perlite, 25% gypsum, epson salts, iron sulphate, lime dolomite and a little copper sulphate. Being a lowland jungle plant, high humidity and temperature is essential.

Ref: Curtis's botanical magazine, 1997, 82-86.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New species of limestone Alocasia

This is an as-yet un-named lithophytic species of Alocasia found growing on limestone slopes on the Philippines island of Samar.





 
Its distinguishing feature is the peltate leaf with small or no sinus (thats the dent at the top of the leaf blade).  The leaf blade is plain and smooth at the top with only the central midrib showing an indentation. Only a few specimens were seen, all growing on the steep slope in the shade.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Morning bash at Titiwangsa mossy forest


Rising before the sun, we drove to an open barren dumping ground doubled up as a parking spot,  marched through a path bordered by tall grasses,  drove away a pack of wild dogs,  waited for the first ray before scrambling up a slope and eventually entering a cool dark mossy forest....

 The ground was soft and moist and littered with terrestrial herbs....

like Medinilla (an epiphyte on fallen branch) - M. clarkei ?

Platanthera angustata, a highland terrestrial orchid - we saw this everywhere but could not get a good flower to photograph.
  
This one I have absolutely no idea .... is the flower coming from those leaves or it that a saprophyte ?
 
This ginger with its characteristics stilt roots and erect yellow inflorescence is Geostachys densiflora. It is endemic to the Titiwangsa Range and is deemed vulnerable due to extensive developments.

   
.... its rather horticultural but alas, a cool grower.
Another cool growing ginger - Camptandra ovata
  Different types of mosses on the ground ....
Hymenophyllum - the familiar filmy ferns of the elfian forest, draping the trunks.
 
Xiphopterella hieronymusii, a fern confined to montane forests in Peninsula Malaysia and Thailand. I have seen a similar lowland species in Leyte which I should have checked the spore patterns.
Many epiphytic orchids, but only 2 flowering :This one is  Dilochia cantleyi, also confined to highlands....

The inflorescence is really stunning !
A tree trunk full of Coelogynes ....
This one appears to be C. radicosa
And the charming Rhododendron malayanum. This was first described by William Jack from specimens collected in Sumatra - as to why it turned out not to be a "sumatranum" was not known. This widespread Vireya can also be found in the lowlands. 
And this is another mystery plant at the edge of the forest, in more open space. It appears to be some kind of horsetail growing on a tree, or perhaps an aberrant Psilotum nudum - a parasite from mistletoe family (Viscaceae) has also been suggested.
Still unsure what this can be ....

Near  the edge of the forest, we met another lovely Nepenthes sanguinea ....
and its a lady !

Friday, February 14, 2014

I am a weevil in love .....

.....
And I do anything
To get you into my world
And hold you within
Its a right I defend
Over and over again
What do I do?

Barbara Streisand 

..... no wait.....

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