Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The smallish Amorphophallus pygmaeus

This is one of the smaller members in a genus of giants, although it is by no means the smallest- that title falls on Amorphophallus pusillus which has leaf stem (petiole) less than 10 cm tall. This flowering specimen is about 30cm tall, which is close to the literature size of 40cm quoted by Wilbert Hetterscheid, the expert in this field.

This plant is a native of limestone hills in central Thailand. Like most Amorphophalluses, the solitary inflorescence break dormancy before the leaf and has a white spathe that wraps around the spadix. The base of the spathe is reddish and warty on the inside.

The plant can be grown on loose sterile substrates - mainly perlite and coarse hydro clay pellets for me. During the growing season, I would spray a generous sprinkle of slow release and increase water dosage for encouragement.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Orchidantha maxillaroides

The genus Orchidantha is based on O. borneensis described by N.E. Brown in 1886. In 1893, Ridley named another new species featured in the picture, Orchidantha maxillaroides , from a plant collected in Pahang and went on to errect a new family Lowiaceae to place these plants. The family is closely related to Musa (the banana family) in having 5 stamens facing a style and a large middle petal. Flowers last only 1-2 days and are found on branching inflorescence. The flower looked like an orchid, with 2 lateral petals and a large central petal known as labellum (equivalent to the lip of orchids, the landing pad for pollinating insects).

Flowers from O. borneensis and fimbriata are known to be putrid to attract flies or dung beetles but I could not detect any smell in this plant. Paradoxically, natives from Terengannu were obseved to use the leaves of O. fimbriata, which seemed to have a banana smell when crushed, to wrap rice cakes.

Since there's not much information about other species of this little known genus in the internet, I reproduce here an ID key based on R.E. Holttum's paper in 1970. It's very likely that more species have been described since then.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bye !

It shouldn't really have to be so bitter, knowing that things can only get better, but mere mortals that we are, could only shed a river of tears, as we bid our goodbyes.

Somewhere at the fjord of Mid Hudson ....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hoya revoluta

A common epiphyte usually associated with ants nest together with other myrmecophytes like Hydnophytums and Dischidia, this smallish Hoya is not easy to cultivate. It has characteristics fleshy leaves with an even thicker leaf margin. The flower clusters are also characteristics, with the outmost flower stalk longer and curving inwards. It is found throughout SE Asia including Borneo and Sumatra.

This is another Eu-Hoya and look very similar to Hoya micrantha.

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