Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
We were very fortunate to chance upon it on a fallen branch in a recreation stream/waterfall area in Southern Johor. The area has since been destroyed by a flash flood about 2 years ago. This specimen has exceptionally bright red flowers and capped bluish-white lobes; the leaves are covered with small random conical projections, giving it a rough and bumpy texture. So far, this is one of the most best clone ever found; more red versus orange and more textured leaves. It does reasonably well for me, enjoying intense light...some light fertilizing and grown on a stick. This clone has been introduced to a couple of friends in Thailand, Taiwan, Europe and US... but for most is challanging to difficult.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
It may not occur to a plant enthusiast that Marsilea is a fern. Unlike other ferns, spores are not borned on the underside of a frond but inside a bean like structure. The spore-bearing leaf has evolved into a special structure called sporocarp:
Just the day after i saw M. crenata in drying-up pool, i found another species M. drummonii growing in a plant enthusiast's collection. This triggered a recollection of Moran's essay**. He wrote of early Australian explorers sustenance on improperly prepared meal of nardoo (M. drummondii) sporocarp which resulted in poisoning and death. The photo below shows M. drummondii with silvery white hairs on its new leaves together with M. crenata. The hairs on top of having underground rhizomes may be an evolutionary adaption to protect young leaves from intense sunlight as M. dummondii is found on harsh seasonally climate that alternates between drought and floods. Interestingly, i found out that M drummondii is native to Thailand and absent from aseasonal Malaysia & Singapore.
*By the way, i. aquatica is 'kang-kong' a staple vegetable in found in south east asian cooking. And a popular dish is sambal kang-kong.
**The Natural History of Ferns, Timberpress by Robbin C. Moran is a wonderful read. It contains an unparalleled collection of highly readable essays on different aspects of fern life, evolution, cultural history, interesting facts and adaptations.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Above is the subspecies tuberifera with stems radiating from a center-caudex.
It is also a species from the dry Alluaudia-Didierea forest in southwestern Madagascar on limestone substrate. E. cylindrifolia v. cylindrifolia can easily be started from cutting and given time will grow true to form with stems radiating from a point. However, it is necessary to start E. cylindrifolia v. tuberifera from seeds to get a caudex plant. So far, i've not tried taking leaf cuttings of v. tuberifera to root but it should be possible. I did recall that one of my v. cylindrifolia stem cutting was rotten all the way to the base and only a rooted leaf was left. A new plant did eventually grow and forms a nice mat.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
By the way, after some experimentation it is possible to root and start this plant from leaf cuttings. Nonetheless, it forms a caudex in time.