Kota Tinggi – A Reprise Part 4 : Nepenthes Land!

July 29, 2008 at 7:07 pm | Posted in fieldtrip, nepenthes, orchids, travel | Leave a comment

A short drive away from our last locality, we reached Jermaluang. It was a hot and lazy Sunday afternoon and many shops seems to be closed or in a siesta mood. In fact, the whole town seem to be in siesta. We settled for a home-operated “restoran” for lunch. It was a simple fanfare, but the Kampung food was really sedap.

After recharging our body with drinks and a quick makan, we were back on the road again. Azmi suggested that we make a short detour to visit some Nepenthes locality, to make the trip “more inteesting”. I couldn’t resist. 🙂

He hadn’t been to the location for sometime now. So we called Lim for help. After a quick confirmation on the locality and driving instructions, we were on the road again. And it wasn’t before long that we struck gold. We knew that we had entered Nepenthes territory. It was not a full Kerangas type of habitat but the ferns and other vegetative landscape suggest that pitcher plants could be near by and true enough there they were. First to be stopped were N. gracilis, possibly the most abundant species in southern Peninsula.

Not bad for a first stop we thought. The pitchers look a big and robust but they seem to be infected by the “red stain” problem caused by a fungal attack ,as mentioned in Phillipps, Lamb and Lee’s new book.

We drove on to another location and through a quiet sliproad, we were greeted by a magnificent upper pitcher of N. rafflesiana standing erect and proud amongst the resam fern backdrop.

The peristome displayed a psychedelic spectrum of colours!

Then we saw A. gramatifolia, another indication of entering Nepenthes land!

An interesting dark red N. raffesiana lower pitcher.

A typical speckled lower pitcher

We also found a red clone of N. gracilis.

And some green N. ampullaria which are commonly found in these areas.

Couldn’t locate any N. xhookeriana and N. xtrichocarpa but we felt glad to be able to see these tropical pitchers nonetheless. 🙂

 

 

to be continued….

Singapore Garden Festival Part 4 : Borneo Exotics Booth

July 29, 2008 at 8:19 am | Posted in books, exhibitions and events, nepenthes | Leave a comment

Together with the orchid show in Hall 401 is a range of stalls set up by nurseries and plant growers from both local and overseas. Having been overwhelmed by the magnificent display of Nepenthes by Rob and Diana, I quickly made my way to Borneo Exotics’ Booth on level 4. The booth was still in midst of being set up on the first day. Apart from a range of lowland and intermediate species and hybrids on sale, there were two interesting finds at the booth.

Firstly, a new edition to “Pitcher Plants of Borneo” by Lamb and Phillippe with new contributions from Ch’ien Lee.

 Some random pictures taken from the book.

 

   

 Second interesting find is the exquisite Nepenthes prints done by Mr Wiliam Richard Taylor, who’s currently based in Kuching. The details on each one of them is amazing. Heard from Rob the prints were all drawn based on live specimens and not through photographs. Taylor had spent a considerable amount of time doing up these beautiful art pieces in situ at Rob’s facilities in Sri Lanka. Absolutely stunning work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several interesting hybrids are avaiable at the booth, the most anticipated of course, was N. xGardenTech, which is a N. ventricosa x ampullaria  . This is the intensity of one of the larger plants on sale.

 

And this is one of the S-sized plants available. Cute lil’ fella!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to be continued….

Singapore Garden Festival 2008 Part 1 – Overview and Nepenthes Galore!

July 28, 2008 at 11:23 am | Posted in exhibitions and events, nepenthes, orchids | Leave a comment

On 24th July,  I attended the media preview of the 2nd Singapore Garden Festival (SGF) 2008. The preview was well-attended by members of the press and TV media, e.g. LianHe Zaobao, ST, ZaoAn NiHao, Morning Singapore, Peak Magazine etc. After a short introduction by the CEO of National Parks (NP) we were divided into groups led by NP personnel on a tour around exibition Hall 601.

 

 

Some exhibits are really interesting, designed to astound one’s senses in sound, sight and even smell! Others unfortunately IMHO are lesser desirable. What really caught my eye was the dome-shape structure which was constructed for a feature by Robert and Diana Cantley from Sri Lanka showcasing a glimpse of Nepenthes and some other tropical plants in their natural habitat. To be able to see such a wide variety of tropical pitcher plants all at once, outside their natural habitat, I got very excited about this and decided to “abandon” the other media folk and the tour and indulge myself in this tropical paradise!

 The ambience was just right…

 The chorus of Nepenthes!

 

 

 

 

The highlight of the feature was three gigantic pitchers of what is supposed to be N. truncata. Those pitchers are massive! Easilt the size of a young baby. Not to mention rare too! Having their natural habitat destroyted, the world is with no more than a handful of N. truncata specimens from the wild. Thanks to the dedication of Rob and Diana, this species which was almost driven to the brink of extinction was given a new breath of life through cultivation in their facilities located in Sri Lanka.

One of my personal favorites at the show however was N. lowii, which produced bizarre toilet-bowl like pitchers. And toilet-bowls they are indeed. Scat have been found within the pitchers and on the narrow opening of the peristome, suggesting that animals like tree shrews and birds have visited the pitchers to enjoy the rich source of resin-like nectar secreted through glands under the lid. As these animals enjoy their free meal while perching on the peristome, they “conveniently” defacaete into the pitcher, much to the delight of the plant of course, as that would provide nitrogeneous matter which is in turn injested by the latter. What a unique case of mutualistic symbiosis! Nature’s profound meaning to barter trade I guess!

This particular plant displayed within the feature is not quite within the visionary enjoyment of the public; due to the delicacy of the pitchers, the dome-shaped enclosure would be out-of-bounds to the public during exhibition days. Members of the public could only see the pitchers from afar outside the enclosure, being separated from it by a water feature which runs around the external perimeters of the enclosure like a moat. However, I had the rare opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with this highlander to admire its sheer beauty.

The first pitcher, which has a dark burgundy peristome shows an accumulation of the crystaliised resin which the animals feed on. The second pitcher however, shows a more colourfully variegated peristome. And if my eyes do not fail me, they are produced by the same plant!

to be continued….

SGF 2008 Part 2: https://corymad.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/singapore-garden-festival-part-2-orchids-show-1/

SGF 2008 Part 3: https://corymad.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/singapore-garden-festival-part-3-orchid-show-2/

SGF 2008 Part 4: https://corymad.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/singapore-garden-festival-part-4-borneo-exotics-booth/

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