Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bulbophyllum sumatranum Garay 1996

Bulbophyllum lobbii is a widely distributed taxon from the very horticulturally interesting section Sestochilus which has many large flowering species. Its found throughout SE Asia and New Guinea and due to this wide geographical range, many forms exist.

In 1996, Dr Leslie Garay and other experts published this new species from Sumatra - Bulbophyllum sumatranum, which many scholars from a different camp considered to be simply a variation of Bulbophyllum lobbii (var. breviflorum to be exact) described some 88 years earlier. Personally. I think it just looked like a smaller version of lobbii with very red lateral sepals.

You can compare this with B. claptonense - another delectable, if debatable, species and make your own conclusion.

Ref: Garay et al, Lindleyana 11: 230 (1996)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Subjugated by darkness and dull drone of a midnight torrent, my mind wandered off to a coronal cartwheel that swirled with bursts of imperial yellow and perfumed with a cheerful tinge of fruit that had yet to form.

It felt like a new sunny morning already.

Gardenia gjellerupii is a smallish tree with nice mango fragrance bloom.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cyrtandra splendens- field notes

This large species from the African violet family (Gesneriaceae) is commonly encountered in lowland of Borneo. It has an errect woody stem and whorls of large woolly leaves that may be plain green or in shades of darker hues which is an attraction in itself. However, when a large plant is in flower, its a magnificent sight.

Cyrtandra is a large Malesian genus consisting of 500 species - give and take a hundred - many species are notoriously difficult to differentiate due to them taking on different appearances, a characteristic termed polymorphism by biologists. The genus as a whole is not commonly cultivated as most species are rather plain and the flowers are in shades of white. Cyrtandra, unlike its close relatives Didymocarpus or Henckelia, have indehiscent fruits - ie the fruits do not split open to release the seeds into the wind. In fact, the seeds are likely dispersed by birds as many of them are fleshy and soft.

Local tribesman told me they rub the leaves on game meat like wild boar or civet prior to cooking, as they absorb the heavy oily taste typical of such flesh. They also said this herb can only be gathered in the forest as attempts to cultivate them have failed. This is rather typical - many of these jungle herbs need a highly moist and shady environment to thrive and they can be tricky to grow.
As it so happened, they had a smoked civet paw by the fireside and I was welcomed to try it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ember Fire

Well, I like this photo quite a bit. There was no special effect in this, what I saw and capture is what appeared here. The background yellow light came from my newly created DIY water feature and I intentionally placed the small LED light to cast a shadow of the flower on the leaf.

This Seemania sylvatica is seed grown and can spread rapidly by underground stems, forming a spectacular carpet if humidity is kept high.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yellow flowered Impatiens mirabilis aff

This is one of the several caudiciform Impatiens I have right now - it may be Impatiens mirabilis or something closely related to it. The inflorescence is sequentially flowering and the caudex fist size and corky. I am not sure how large it can grow but a true I. mirabilis is of tree-like proportion. Many new caudiciform Impatiens are being discovered in this part the world as I speak and this could well be one of the new discoveries - I am including more pics here with the hope of someone suggesting an ID one day.

Generally caudiciform Impatiens are difficult - some of them just die without rhyme or reason. This species seems easier than others, it even produced a crop of viable seedlings for me !

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Trinket from Tanimbar

An unknown lemony yellow Aeschynanthus (lipstick vine) collected by a friend from Tanimbar Islands, one of the spice islands off the south coast of New Guinea. If you have any suggestions about its ID, please let me know.

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