Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mr Macfarlane's exquisite WC

Amongst tall grasses away from prying eyes, these would be my inspiration for truly luxurious WCs, if I am ever asked to submit a prototype.
Nepenthes macfarlanei is named after a Scottish botanist, John Muirhead Macfarlane, who authored one of the earliest monograph of this genus in 1908. Since his original description of 51 species way back then, the list of known species of tropical pitcher plants has roughly been doubled.
The species is endemic to highlands of Peninsula Malaysia and is still relatively common. The lower pitcher is urn shaped, with its pointy end anchoring it securely in the moss or soft substrate. Literature suggests it could be as tall as 30cm. So far the few specimens encountered in this recce were sitting at the ledge of precipituous drops, I presumed the reason was that the more accessible specimens had been collected by admirers.

The underside of the lid of this species has white hairs - which is unique amongst the Malaysian species. The glands secret a nectar which attract ants. Inevitably, some will drop into the pitcher.

In one of the pitchers, I found a white grub doing a back stroke.
I am not really sure if its a resident or an ingredient of the deadly broth - but the leisurely flapping of its behind seemed to suggest it was neither in pain nor danger.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hairy orchid

Furry bloom of Bulbophyllum lindleyanum - a smallish orchid found from India all the way to Indochina. I do not grow this as I believe its one of those plants best suited to a cooler climate although I was told with tender loving care, some specimens many still flower in the sweltering lowland.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Madangia (Hoya) inflata

First described by PI Forster and the late Mr Liddle in 1997, this plant was initially placed as a monotypic genus based on the fused corolla and fused outer corona as shown in pictures above. The genus Madangia is subsumed within Hoya now, I am retaining this in the title merely for nostalgia.

The line drawing from the original publication is reproduced as follows. The venation of the dark green leaf as well as the thin black stem is rather characteristic as well.
So far it has only been found in the Madang Province of New Guinea. After numerous attempts to establish this plant, I eventually have a flowering vine this year - so its certainly not one of those robust vines that had run amok at the plot.

Like most tropical Hoyas, a high humidity (above 80%) and a wooden trellis or pole to climb and root is important for success. Some Hoya growers coil their vines around the metal wires of the hanging pots - which will not optimise root growth. Peduncle and flowers appeared at about 30-40% shade so it does not seem to need a lot of light.

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