Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Okay it is not really as exciting, the flash from my camera just manages to get it from the right angle and the former picture captures the full glory. The above picture captures an average plant. To some extend, the amount of iridescence depends on intensity of light on the plant, age of leaves, genetics ...
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Raymond Morgan mentions in his book Impatiens (Timberpress, 2007), that hybridizers have tried to cross this species with New Guinean species to produce good solid yellow flowers... but their efforts are not rewarded. The yellow genes appear to be recessive.
This species is not threaten on account of numerous seedlings and young plants. It even survived grass cutting activity along the trail. But it will not survive destruction of habitat unless transplanted to a suitable montane riverine valley. M. Henderson described this species being common in Cameroun Highlands and Fraser Hill in his 1960s book Common Malayan Wildflowers, but personally i have not seen it at Fraser Hill.
Other companion herbs include an iridescent "blue" begonia by the name of B. pavonina and gesneriads.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
This clone in the photograph below may be a form of E. francoisii v. crassifcaulis 'rubra' with bigger leaves, strong wavy margins and pink veination.
Under equatorial conditions, i learn the hard way after killing cuttings or part of a specimen that it enjoys some shade and will appreciate heat relief under shade when the mercury hits the 35°C or more. Limpy leaves are signs of heat stress or dryness. Caution...if the leaves do not regain turgidness after watering, it maybe under severe heat stress and should be move to a shadier spot for observation and careful watering!
Sunday, December 02, 2007
E. decaryi comes from the Didierea-Alluaudia forest in Southern Madagascar. It is one of the few Euphorbias with the distinction of being under CITES Appendix 1*. By definition, it is a very endangered and rare species. However, it proves to be very easy and amendable in cultivation and E. decaryi var spirosticha is probably one of the common succulents propagated for sale in nurseries. The type - E. decaryi v decaryi being less attractive is less common in cultivation.
Both varieties are very easy to raise in Singapore - if they are given good bright light and sheltered from rain. They can grow in any mix provided that mix dries out well in between watering. Strong light brings out the brown hues and shade encourages lush green leaves.
*Appendix 1 includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Trying to pin a name to this species drawed a blank until 2006 when a Taiwanese nurserymen identified it as I. chinensis. It was said to be common weed of Southern China in marshy areas. A websearch yields couple of photos of this species but the flowers are smaller, less symmetrical and the color is inferior. If you can confirm; or suggest another identification, would like to have your comments.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I chanced upon this impatiens at Cat Ba Island, Halong Bay during my Vietnam trip in Nov 2005. This perennial balsam was found growing from peaty humus pockets on razor sharp eroded karst. It grows to around 50-80 cm tall from the base and have very pale pink or white flowers. It has a spindle-shaped basal stem up to the first side-branch. Wild plants of Halong Bay identified this as I. verrucifer. Flora of vietnam gives a distribution to include Ninhbinh, Quangnam and Phanrang on the mainland. Athough the plant is flowering vigorously, there is no developing or mature seed pods. I was not sure if November is the flowering season; maybe it is just opportunistic flowering when water is available. That year was probably an anomaly with typhoon bringing rains later and further north. October till April is normally the cool season and past typhoon season. Other plants that share a similar eco-niche are Euphorbia antiquorum, Sacrostemma sp (milk weed stem-climber), Dracaena cambodiana (Yucca-like), Drynaria sp (fern), Stephania sp (climber with peltate leaves & has a tuber).
Saturday, November 17, 2007
During my recent trip to China, i spotted a nice pot of flowering kalanchoe... but something is not right. The vegetative parts looked like the kalanchoe i know from Singapore but the flowers are wrong! The flowers showed stronger affinities to Sedum. While trying to read up on Chinese plants which i saw during the trip... i come across a photo of the above in The Garden Plants of China by Peter Valder, Timber Press naming it Sedum spectabilis. Going by a more authoritative reference it is Hylotelephium spectabile per Flora of China vol.8. It is found all the way from Eastern China to Manchuria and Korea.
Friday, November 09, 2007
in memory of her [Susanna] who when alive, was my first companion and helpmate in looking for herbs and plants, and who was also the first one to show it to me
Currently it is very rare in the wild and equally rare in cultivation. It is rare in cultivation probably because of its very specific growth/dormancy requirements and growers tend to treat it like most other orchids which require year round watering. Like H. lindleyana in the former post, after flowering this species dies down to a tuber resting for couple of months before a new shoot will emerge from the soil. At this point, watering can be resumed. It likes to be grown in sandy clay enriched with high potash & phosphate. The mix must retain moisture and must be well drained. The plant grows vigorously for 3-4 mths before flowering developing a tall stem; the stem should be supported if necessary aovid toppling over resulting in unrecoverable damage to basal stem jointed to the tuber. Watering should be slowly reduce as leaves and flowers dries up to prepare for tuber development and dormancy. Some water should still be given to soften the mix and aid tuber development. Here we go, flowers taken back in Oct this year.
This is a seasonal terrestial orchid from thailand and maybe found in other neighboring countries of indochina. After flowering, the inflorescence and leaves will slowly yellow and die. Meantime watering should be reduced correspondingly. A underground tuber will form in time and if the plant is vigorous, mature and robust... with luck maybe one can get 1 large or 2 tubers. It is important that a dry rest is given; tubers can remain in the potting mix with a dribble of water weekly or twice a month. Normally, the tuber will wake up and develop a growing tip after about 3 months of dormancy not very differerent from onions left on in the kitchen. The active life cycle starts here... regular watering, feeding and pest control etc. Light regular feeding with higher P, K is important to ensure vigorous and active growth. Interestingly, i find that this habenaria enjoys a sandy clay mix which retains moisture.
Monday, October 29, 2007
After doing some research at Shanghai, Fuzhou road bookstores... i manage to narrow it down to Orostachys fimbriatus. It is common plant, use in traditional medicine with poisonous properties... and i quote this from Flora of China 8: 206–209. 2001.
Orostachys fimbriata (Turczaninow) A. Berger in Engler & Prantl, Nat.
Pflanzenfam., ed. 2, 18a: 464. 1930.
瓦松 wa song
Cotyledon fimbriata Turczaninow, Bull. Soc. Imp. Naturalistes Moscou 17: 241. 1844; C. fimbriata var. ramosissima (Maximowicz) Maximowicz; Orostachys fimbriata var. grandiflora F. Z. Li & X. D. Chen; O. fimbriata var. shandongensis F. Z. Li & X. D. Chen; O. jiuhuaensis X. H. Guo & X. L. Liu; O. ramosissima (Maximowicz) V. V. Byalt; Sedum fimbriatum (Turczaninow) Franchet; S. fimbriatum var. ramosissimum (Maximowicz) Fröderström; S. limuloides Praeger; S. ramosissimum (Maximowicz) Franchet; Umbilicus fimbriatus (Turczaninow) Turczaninow; U. ramosissimus Maximowicz.
Rosette leaves linear, short; appendage white, suborbicular, cartilaginous, centrally spinose, margin fimbriate. Stem leaves linear to lanceolate, 1.9–3 × 0.2–0.5 cm, apex spinose. Flowering stem 10–20(–40) cm. Inflorescence racemose or basally branched and conical, dense, 12–25 × 10–20 cm; bracts linear, apex acuminate; pedicels to 1 cm. Sepals oblong, 1–3 mm. Petals red or white, lanceolate elliptic, 5–6 × 1.2–1.5 mm, base connate for ca. 1 mm, apex acuminate. Stamens shorter than or equaling petals; anthers purple. Nectar scales subquadrangular, apex ubemarginate. Follicles oblong, apical beak slender, ca. 1 mm. Seeds numerous, ovoid, minute. Fl. Aug–Sep, fr. Sep–Oct.
Rocks on slopes, house roofs, mossy tree trunks; below 1600 m (to 3500 m in Gansu and Qinghai). Anhui, Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Zhejiang [Korea, Mongolia, Russia].
This species is used medicinally.
China is actually fairly rich in crassulaceae, with 233 out of 1500 species. With more species in Sedum, Rhodiola, Sinocrassula, Hylotelephium. So... keep your eyes open when you go on holidays.