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.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pinanga simplicifrons - small and rather neat

After a very prolonged dry spell, the monsoon season took over - typified by thundery storms mostly during noons. Not the best time to roam in the wilds and least of all, the occasionally inundated swamp forests. I was actually hoping to capture some events of mass flowering, which happened only once every few years or more and in this freakish weather I would expect to occur.

In one of my hurried solitary forays in this soggy terrain, I encountered a rather rare plant - Pinanga simplicifrons, a very distinctive small palm with distinctive oblong undivided leaves forked at the end. This plant is distributed in Malay Peninsula, Borneo and Sumatra but I had never seen it available in commercial nurseries - which is a pity, given its small manageable size and very appealing foliage.

I managed to snap some pictures before the rumbling sky snapped me to my good sense and I got out of the swamp just as the first few droplets of rain descended ....

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