Thursday, July 31, 2008

Orostachys japonica

Sempervivum? No, Sempervivum is not found beyond Asia minor and the Caucasus. Other genera of crassulaceae from Japan are Orostachys, Sedum i think this is an Orostachys. This compact rosetted succulent was found growing on rocks near the sea at Utoro, Hokkaido, Japan. Orostachys are biennials - they die after flowering in the 2nd year. The intense red and extreme clustering of leaves in the top photo is an indicative sign of emerging stem inflorescence in autumn. There are few accompanying plants in the harsh rocky habitat besides Phedimus kamtschaticus (Sedum aizoon ssp kamtschaticum), Artemisia sp and some annual members of the compositae. I can imagine the succulent rosette of leaves buried under at less a foot of snow! Based on internet photos and description from Flora of China, i think it is O. japonica. It is a widespread species from Eastern China extending to Japan, Korea and Russia.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Phedimus kamtschaticus

This picture was taken in-situ when i went on a 2 weeks vacation (. No, i did not travel to an exotic place called Kamchatka in the far eastern Russia. It was taken at Utoro near Shiretoko national park at Hokkaido, Japan. Frankly, i never heard of this small town. It serves as a getway to the Shiretoko national park and cruiseliners take tourists out to tip of Shiretoko peninsula (Cape Shiretoko) from this point. It is growing on coastal rocks around cruiseliner pier in full sun. I lift this description from Flora of China 8: 218–221. 2001.

Phedimus kamtschaticus (Fischer) ’t Hart in ’t Hart & Eggli,
Evol. & Syst. Crassulac. 168. 1995.
堪察加费菜 kan cha jia fei cai
Sedum kamtschaticum Fischer & C. A. Meyer, Index Sem. Hort. Petrop. 7: 54. 1840;
Aizopsis kamtschatica (Fischer) Grulich; Sedum aizoon Linnaeus subsp. kamtschaticum (Fischer) Fröderström.
Herbs perennial. Rootstock branched, thickened, woody. Stems mostly simple, ascending, 15–40 cm, sometimes papillate. Leaves alternate or opposite, rarely 3-verticillate; leaf blade oblanceolate, spatulate, or obovate, 2.5–7 × 0.5–3 cm, base narrowly cuneate, margin apically
sparsely serrate to crenate, apex obtuse-rounded. Inflorescence terminal. Flowers unequally 5-merous. Sepals lanceolate, 3–4 mm, base broad, apex obtuse. Petals yellow, lanceolate, 6–8 mm, abaxially keeled, apex acuminate and mucronate. Stamens 10, slightly shorter than petals; anthers orange. Nectar scales subquadrangular, minute. Carpels erect, equaling or slightly shorter than petals, adaxially gibbous, base connate for ca. 2 mm. Follicles stellately
horizontal. Seeds brown, obovoid, minute. Fl. Jun–Jul, fr. Aug–Sep.
Rocky slopes; 600–1800 m. Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol [Japan,
Korea, Russia].

It is so neat and nicely position that on first impression i thought it was planted. Anyway, there are annuals in planted troughs. More of this species growing on other less accessible rocks around that area. They survived winter dying down to a rootstock. I reckon the place will be snow covered for at least 4-5 mths.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pure Beauty - Habenaria myriotricha/medusae

This is a jaw-dropping beauty from Laos or Thailand. I've seen it once in Bangkok and that beautiful memory stayed with me. Recently, i was very lucky to purchase what i suspected is a H. myriotricha plant from a local orchid nursery. They had imported some plants from Thailand in preparation for a plant exhibition cum trade fair. Keeping my fingers crossed... and it turned out to the plant of my dreams.

According to Seidenfaden, there are 3 species - H. medusae from northern Sumatra, H. myriotricha from Thailand/Laos & H. beccarii from Sulawesi. H. medusae and H. myriotricha are almost identical while H. beccarii has broader and shorter fringes on the side lobes. Knowing that my plant originated from Thailand i'm sticking to H. myriotricha. The inflorescences is erect and measured 40-50 cm tall from ground. Each flower is about 3 cm across, with long graceful thin fringes on the sidelobes and a long spur.

Again this is a deciduous terrestial from monsoonal belt - Indochina, northern Sumatra, Sulawesi with a very distinct dry/wet season. When the plant is growing, water generously and feed it with dilute fertilizer regularly to promote strong growth and flowers. After flowering, once leaves start to yellow reduce watering as the plant prepares for dormancy by withdrawing starch from the leaves and stem to form the tuber. Slowly, water less and less. Once the tuber is fully form, it can be kept dry for about 3-4 mths.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Eulophia andamanensis

Chances are you can find pseudobulbs of this species at general herbal, tuber, & bulb store at Bangkok's renowned Chatuchak market. Eulophia andamanensis is a widely distributed species throughout Thailand, into Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam), Myanmar (Tenasserim) and also Northern Malaysia. My gut feel is it can adapt and spread on disturbed forest or grasslands just like Spathoglottis plicata occupying degraded land in Malaysia and Singapore.

Four or five years ago this guy in my neighbourhood gave me a fistful of pseudobulbs from his sad rotting clump. It thrives under general succulent care ie. if the plant is in leaf i water, else i don't. Over the course of 2 years, the pseudobulbs spread to fill two 12 inch pots. Typically, it stays dormant for about 4-5 mths. Only recently did it flower under severely underpotted condition. There appears to be 2 color forms (light green and brown) in the clumps.