Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two forms of Begonia pendula

This smallish species from Sarawak grows on vertical cliffs under wet dripping ledges away from direct sun. Leaves of Begonias are known to be highly polymorphic (ie varying over a single trait) so identifications base solely on the leaf appearance can be erroneous.

Illustrated here is a plain green leaves form and brown mottled form of the same species.

The floral characteristics are similar between the 2 forms. Male flowers are terminal on bright red stalks branched dichotomously. The less numerous female flowers are borned singly and separately and have 5 tepals. This plant likes free draining limestone medium - I grow the mottled form on a brick with crushed shell and corals.

This is a finicky and slow grower, you can go to on holidays for 3 months and come back to see it looking exactly the same when you left, with its few miserable leaves ....that is, if it does not rot. Patience and lots of love required....

Male flowers Female flower.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nephelaphyllum borneensis

Totally camouflaged against a backdrop of dry leaves, this ground orchid creep along a cool dark mountain slope in Sarawak. Some have regarded this to be a subspecies of the common and larger N. pulchrum. The literal translation of the latin name Nephelaphyllum is cloudy leaf.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wagler's pit viper

While scrambling up a limestone slope, we had to hold on to the perfectly vertical scraggy trees to prevent us from falling backwards. As it happened, this nocturnal serpent was curled up resting on one of the skinny trunks that we so nearly grabbed.

That would have been painful.

This species is mild tempered during the day but more active at night. Many of them are utilised to adorn a rather famous tacky tourist temple in Penang.

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