Sunday, April 20, 2014

Surreal texture .... Alocasia melo

This is a rare small Alocasia from Sabah with textural leaves that feel like cardboard. It had been in cultivation since 1960s but the exact habitat was not known until sometime in 1990s where K.M. Wong,  A. Hayes and P Boyce found them growing on ultramafic river banks in the lowland of Sabah and eventually gave it a name in 1997. 

Below is the painting made by Mary Grierson from the specimen grown in Kew in 1960s.

The plant had been made available commercially but is still not very common. According to literature,  plants in the Australian botanical garden had been growing in free draining mixture with 75% perlite, 25% gypsum, epson salts, iron sulphate, lime dolomite and a little copper sulphate. Being a lowland jungle plant, high humidity and temperature is essential.

Ref: Curtis's botanical magazine, 1997, 82-86.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New species of limestone Alocasia

This is an as-yet un-named lithophytic species of Alocasia found growing on limestone slopes on the Philippines island of Samar.

Its distinguishing feature is the peltate leaf with small or no sinus (thats the dent at the top of the leaf blade).  The leaf blade is plain and smooth at the top with only the central midrib showing an indentation. Only a few specimens were seen, all growing on the steep slope in the shade.

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