Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mojave winter

Not far from the flare and glare of Vegas
Where the greed-is-good do-gooders get hard done by
A yucca stands like an exorcist on moral high ground
Hyperventillating its expatriation of doom
As the valley is subsumed in shadows and gloom

And the muted Cholla prick your conscience.

Not far from the waste and haste of Vegas
Where flies minesweep for buffet morsels like paparazzi
A hermit hiccuped a haiku
And hot-linked himself to Honey Stars
Lusting for Hazel, the nut
Who does not live here anymore.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An unusual Begonia kingiana

This small and delectable species is named after Sir George King, head of the Royal Botanical Garden in Calcutta during late 1800s. There are lavish photos of 2 forms of this plant in Ruth Kiew's brilliant book "Begonias of Peninsular Malaysia" - one showing nicely variegated round leaves and the another very dark indigo leaves of similar shape but bearing crimson flowers instead of white/pink. There are other forms available and most of them have peltate, thick, dish-like leaves that feel like plastic to touch.

During a recce trip I found this rather unique form that had long drooping leaves with angular margin and a tapering drip point. Each dark coloured leaf has 5-6 light bands radiating from the centre - its quite distinct from the forms shown in Ruth's book. I observed that this plant is very exact in its requirement, preferring dark, humid limestone cliffs and forming patches of dense vertical cover on a particular hill, yet apparently absent at neighbouring hills.

This species is endemic to west Malaysia and is closely related to the extinct B. eiromischa.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Check Mate

The reckless nymphette Fed-Exed herself into the wanton arms of an aging web master....her body, wrapped in the best nuptial silk, is nevertheless emptied of vital vigour as toxic mastication morphed it into a phantom ship ....

Out in the field trying my new gadgets when I stubled upon this Parawixia dehaani gift wrapping a Cicada. This is a commonly encountered orb-web spider widely distributed in SE ASia.

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