Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My old web site

Just a little note....this is my old website that I had started around year 2000. There was no broadband then and the uploading took ages, especially for those pics intensive pages. Anyway it was a very inconvenient medium for constant uploading and I had aborted the project in 2003. Still, even now I think its a decent read for 30minutes or so.
East Asian Flora Web at Tripod


Monday, October 27, 2008

Huntleya wallisii

This is a tropical New world orchid related to Zygopetalums. It is a mid-size epiphyte with overlapping fan-shaped leaves designed to trap leaf debris for nourishment. This plant is not commonly grown here and to see the large waxy and gaudy bloom in Singapore is certainly a surprise. The flower last for more than 1 week and easily 2 weeks - unfortunately parent plants may weaken and die after blooming but it may send out a younger plant if it feels like it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Its called a heart

A brooding old tree in SBG was heavily festooned with epiphytes. Multiple strands of Dischidia nummularioides, a dimunitive relative of the Hoya common around this garden city, draped the trunk and dangled from the spreading branches.

One of them decided to tie the knot.

Later in the evening, I had dinner with a friend, who revealed he recently proposed to a Korean girl fifteen years younger than him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lipstick from Borneo

An unusual lipstick vine from Borneo, looks a bit like Aeschynanthus obconicus due to its widely flaring calyx but the leaves are decidedly smaller. This is a slow grower, unlike those A. javanicus type which swamp the whole area.

ID Suggestions welcome !

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hoya lamingtoniae

A mid-sized vine from the Oro Province in Papua New Guinea named after the wife of the then governor of Queensland. It had been labelled in the trade as PNG-4 for some time until the description was matched against a plant collected at foot of Mount Trafalgar and described in 1898 by botanist F.M. Bailey* . At that time, he mentioned that it was "one of the most beautiful of the genus and should be introduced into garden culture." In terms of robustness, ease of growth and size/ fullness of the umbel, it is certainly not a match for the more commonly encountered H. pubicalyx, which also has flaming red flowers but much thicker leaves and stems. Its charms lies in its relative rarity in the garden (snob appeal ?), less weedy growth and the 4-veined leaves.

* Queensland Agriculture Journal, V3, p156

Friday, October 17, 2008

At a flower market .....

this specimen of spectacular Bornean slipper orchid Paphiopedilum stonei was attracting a lot of attention. Many visitors passing by just have to stop and take a closer look at this curiously beautiful bloom. Unfortunately, the mantis, which was disturbed from its original perch, made the wrong choice of landing here and subjecting itself to unwanted scrutiny.
Changes can be risky. The very survival advantage nature bestowed upon the mantis when it rested amongst the curly young green leaves and branches suddenly became somewhat of a liability.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Blue Begonia of Borneo

Saw this iridescent blue Begonia growing in the shady limestone forest of Borneo, apparently still undescribed. This colour is not due to pigments but special chloroplasts called iridoplasts having fibrils arranged linearly, hence reflecting a narrow range of wavelength of light.

Limestone areas are rich in herbaceous flora like this, carving a niche for themselves away from more robust plants elsewhere. As a result, many of these herbs have very restricted distribution and are vulnerable to habitat destruction.

Added notes: This plant has only recently been described as Begonia kuchingensis Taiwania 62(2): 105, 2017. That's a full 9 years after we first saw it.


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Blue Family

Blue Friday. Stock market indexes drop like stone, Singapore's economy in recession and closer to home, retrenchment looms.

Head for the garden ....

While blue colouration in flowers is a relatively rare occurence in the natural world, the plant family Commelinaceae is credited with producing a good many species with varying hues and intensities of blue flowers, like the blue ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora), Trandescantias and the common weed Commelina communis, which has a most intensely blue bloom.

Perhaps commercial breeders seekinng for the blue rose should take a closer look at this family. Right now, it appears they are spicing genes from pansies, and the result is not exactly blue, ha !

While visiting my friend's massive garden, I spied upon this Cochliostema jacobianum, a giant in this family of mostly smallish plants. This is an epiphyte from the New World that grows like a Bromeliad, trapping nutrients between its stacked leaves. The flowers are more purplish though, but cluster is comparatively big. The whole plant is about 3 feet in diameter and in the wild, it can be so heavy it frequently caused the branches on which it sits to snap and tumble to the forest floor. Fortunately, it seems equally adapted to terrestrial life.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kaempferia marginata - don't step on it !

Kaempferia marginata is a deciduous ginger found in seasonally dry grassland of China (Yunnan), India, Myanmar and Thailand. It is closely related to K. galanga which is widely cultivated for spice and which shares the same growth habit, viz a pair of circular leaves lying flat out on the ground. This calls to mind some desert lily called Haemanthus from Africa and could be an adaptation to reduce water loss. It is often used in traditional medicine across the region to relieve toothache and gastric discomfort. The flower is very short lived, lasting less than half a day but during season new flower appears almost daily.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Its all bullsh...

Hey don't look at me I'm only a buffalo....but on behalf of the Bovine tribe I truly regret the poison milk incident...not that its our fault or anything but its sad that products from my cousins' udder could be causing you guys so much distress ....I mean we are proud of what we produce, we truly are, but we cannot forsee, let alone control, the chains of events after the milk leave the belly, you know...and to to think that members of your own kind would do this to yourself, man I'd feel betrayed too if I were you....and between you and me, why don't you just let your kids suck off from your own udder instead of taking from my cousins eh ..... you have plenty too I reckon ....

A conversation that did not take place off the East coast of Peninsula Malaysia.

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