Saturday, April 11, 2015

UFO



A few years ago I wrote here that Hoya danumensis and wallichii were similar without even having seen the real Hoya wallichii - the reason being it had not been seen in the flesh for more than 100 years. Michelle Rodda, who had  spent hours looking at pickled flowers in the herbarium promptly corrected me. Reading the worded descriptions in the paper and knowing how some researchers were intolerant of variations within species, I was naturally skeptical .... I was also no taxonomist.

As luck would have it,  the real Hoya wallichii was discovered scrambling in the lowland of Peninsula Malaysia about 1 year later and we even managed to see a specimen in flower. 

And what a flower. 

Not only was it very different from H. danummensis, it was totally unlike any Hoya I knew.     

The umbel produce only a single large dish shape flower with a most striking claw-like blood-red corona. Descriptions in the paper made no mention of the distinctive colour of the corona - understandable considering it was described from a century old pickle.

In the wild, this plant was found on rocky outcrops covered with leaf litter together with other low shrubs and trailers and was really inconspicuous without flower. My impression was that this was a much dryer habitat than that of H. campanulata which was normally found near a water source.
For more details, do check out Michelle's article in Gardenwise, a publication by Singapore Botanical Garden.

3 comments:

Titania Staeheli said...

How very exciting and lucky to see the real beauty, not just an century old pickled specimen. Milky white with red, so striking. Hoyas are so special, even my well known Hoya carnosa delights me when she is scrambling up the tree with hundreds of flowers.

River P said...

I feel positively wet looking at your lovely photographs, not to mention hot and steamy and covered in leeches. Beautiful. Thanks, so I dont't have to LOL. Only joking I love doing the same with a passion, but I don't take pictures, yours are invaluable!

River P said...

I feel positively wet looking at your lovely photographs, not to mention hot and steamy and covered in leeches. Beautiful. Thanks, so I dont't have to LOL. Only joking I love doing the same with a passion, but I don't take pictures, yours are invaluable!

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