Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Tinker's Dam

Flowering unnoticed in a corner of the nursery, the tiny Trias hardly attracts admirers of the human scale.

Trias is a genus of small Bulbophylum-like orchids inhibiting the more seasonally dry environments from N. Malaysia to IndoChina. Not sure what species this is.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Only unknown gesneriad

This unknown gesneriad with its quietly glowing blue flower and crenulate leaves grows only on rocks scattered randomly in a lowland forest in West Malaysia. Still waiting for experts to tell me what it is.

Addenda : Codonoboea johorica

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Swallowtail Lighthouse

Everyone wants to be stranded in a lighthouse sometime in their life....or is it just me. The solitude and the sound of waves and wind, battling the elements in the dark cold stormy nights.... unfortunately this one is not for hire.

Swallowtail lighthouse in Grand Manan Island. Its summer so the sea is calm. Its really therapeutic for me, battling with virus, to look at this picture and reminisce....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A green Aeschynanthus

In memory of Mary Mendum, who had helped me identify this plant many many years ago.

Aeschynanthus albidus is a large shrubby epiphyte which has glabrous green leaves with bright pink underside. I have seen the plant only once growing high in the canopy at the forest edge, exposed to bright sun. It is supposedly closely associated with ant nests. Unlike most other "lip-stick" vines, this one has green flower, usually borne in pairs along nodes of the vine.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Brighten up

The past week has been miserable for the poor girl....sick and confined. But things can only get better....
Rays of noon sun shine through a crack down a cave in Danang.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

No Glass Ceiling ....

A climbing vine in a glasshouse will soon hit an invisible wall.
Exposed to the wild elements and truly free....the sky's the limit.

Despite its name, Bulbophyllum singaporeanum is likely extinct in our little island nation. Like many Bulbophyllums, the inflorescence is fetid - smelling like salted fish.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mass flowering of Dendrobium keithii

This Thai orchid, which had not bloomed for a few years, is suddenly peppered with yellow flowers jutting out everywhere along the length of the leaves - an extreme response to days of downpour after 3 weeks for rainless sunny days.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Smelling like some gas leak, an Amorphophallus variabilis (?) bloom emerged from its greenish tuber on a rainy night. This inflorescence (about 10cm tall) is much smaller than my previous variabilis bloom - and coupled with the fact that I had lost the tag with its origin - I am not exactly sure if this is the right ID. Interestingly, the smell was not detectable during the afternoon.

Monday, March 10, 2008

a Trapped civet

A wily civet was trapped in a cage.
Someone left the door opened for four hours.
Where would one look for the escaped beast ?
This question has been plaguing the population of four million for more than a week now. And they in turn, are now trapped, less so by the traffic jams than the nagging insecurity of a retaliation.

This small toothed palm civet (Arctogalidia trivirgata) was imprisoned in a Bidayuh village in Sarawak, where it is considered a delicacy. Fortunately, its owner told us she was going to keep it as pet. For now.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gesneriad project - Streptocarpella saxorum

8 months or so from seeds and this is what I get. Nice !
Most Streptocarpus do not do well in our climate but this relative can be grown like a succulent here.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Ready to drop

Dow dropped 300 on Friday. That's ominous.

Fruits maturing on the hanging spadix of the Swamp Taro Cyrtosperma merkusii, will eventually drop into the forest stream where it will be carried away from the mother plant. In the Singapore and Malaysia form, wild plants of this species are restricted to shady blackwater swamps. There are more robust domesticated forms grown for food in some Polynesia islands.

Central Catchment, Singapore.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

An orchid from New Guinea

An unknown Hapalochilus, closely related, and sometimes placed as a section within Bulbophyllum genus.
Any idea what species this is ?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ginger for your hair

The sticky viscuous liquid within the bracts of this shampoo ginger, Zingiber zerumbet has been used traditionally by Polynesians as hair shampoo. The whole "cone" would be taken to a river, and upon a light squeeze, the liquid would ooze out and ready to be applied. The chemical is said to impart a lasting shine to the hair. It is apparently effective, some famous (I think) shampoos - like Paul Mitchell and Freeman put it in their products.

More recently, an oil known as Zerumbone extracted from its rhizome is found to have anti-tumour properties as well.

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