Saturday, January 26, 2008

Begonia rubida

Young leaves of Begonia rubida are very intensely coloured. Alas, the adults become leggy and more uniformly green. The name refers to the ruby red male flowers of this species. It is endemic to Bau region in Sarawak.
As mentioned by Ruth Kiew in her paper, each Begonia species in Bau occupy a niche microenvironment in the limestone hills so as not to compete with each other (how peace loving !), with rubida predorminantly growing near exposed summits with less shade. We also found this to be quite true we saw plants growing in North West facing slopes above the tree canopy.

Bau is very rich in biodiversity. Unfortunately, it is also rich in mineral deposit, especially gold. Many local Chinese and Bidayuhs are engaged in family run mining activities and we saw haphazardly dug and abandoned trenches around the hills.

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