Wednesday, December 31, 2008


With its figs, or more correctly, synconia, almost covering the whole mid section of its main trunk, this Ficus fistulosa is having a very fruitful 2008 indeed.

An unknown legume from Malaysia lowland forest flowering from bare trunk.

Belimbang Hutan (which means jungle starfruit in Malay) or Baccaurea angulata in Latin. Actually, it is from family Euphorbiaceae while starfruit Averrhoa carambola is from Family Scarabaeoidea.

The colourful fruits brought more than a cheerful respite from the dull green of the jungle. It has a sour but juicy mesocarp which quenches the thirst of us thirsty hikers. It is only found in Borneo.

Cauliflory is the habit of many tropical trees to bear flowers and fruits on the main trunk rather than on lofty, leafy branches. It is an example of niche targetting in the natural world. While most other trees were competing to attract arboreal pollinators and seed dispersal agents high up in the canopy, these cauliflorous trees were offering fruits and nectar to bottom dwellers nearer to forest floors. Over the many years of evolution, the mass duplication of this design across trees from very diverse families, from both the New and Old World implies that this niche exploitation has, by and large, been quite successful.

More recently, in our human world, a similar strategy of our banks to offer fruits and nectar to bottom dwellers does not appear to be as rewarding....


Hermes said...

Never heard of that before, fascinating. And great pictures.
Have a Happy New Year.

RWS Photo Blog said...

Belimbang Hutan should be spell as Belimbing Hutan

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