Saturday, January 31, 2009

Carallum crenulata

Have been awaiting buds to open for sometime.  There were numerous abortions in the last few months. Perhaps it is too windy or too warm.  At last on the 6th day of Chinese New Year, the flowers open:
My guess is Caralluma crenulata. It turns out to be correct. The stems are 4-angled and rather thin just 5-6 mm with small residual leaves. Unlike other stapeliads, it has a rather irregular habitat branching at will like a straggly Edithcolea grandis. So far it does not appear to form underground stolons/stems, noting the lack of new stem growth emerging from underground. A friend gave me a small plant that was purchased from the renown Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, Thailand. C. crenulata type is recorded from Sagaing in the dry savannah interior of Myanmar. I reckon it would be highly probable that some plant finds its way to the neighbouring Thailand which has a very developed horticultural industry.  

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tree Fern

Am always enchanted by ferns for their primitive and mathematical symmetry. The perfect crown of fronds of this Cyathea contaminans justly epitomized symmetry.  This is the giant tree fern of the Malayan montane forest.  It rises high above shrublets to more than 10 m tall and sways with racing mists. It colonizes base of slopes next to roads, old clearings and valleys. Photo was taken at start of the trek/road leading to Gunong Brinchang in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia around May day holidays in 2007.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hechtia tillandsioides

Recent issues of Cactus & Succulent Society of America Journal have been featuring articles on xeric bromeliads.  They form neat ground hugging perfect rosettes in brown/greyish landscapes. Growing in dry savanna woodlands with cacti. Color changes in leaves at the center of the rosette signal flowering. I've been toying with the idea of buying a couple of miniature xeric bromeliads. And went to the extend of compiling a list: Hechtia tillandsioides, Dyckia choristamine, D. fosteriana. I was hoping to find a nursery that stocked my wishlist but that was not the case.  It did not pay to bring in a single plant due to high shipping and phyto certification charges.  

Back in November the day before i went off on vacation, i decided to visit a local nursery. I was surprised they had were carrying stock of tillandsia and other bromeliads including a couple of xeric bromeliads. Two H. tillandsioides were up for grabs and i got them. H. tillandsioides is a native of Veracruz, Mexico. It resembles a tillandsia and has a very compact flattened rosette (20-25 cm across) of lime-green leaves. The leaves are very long (30 cm or more) and thin with spines on the margin. So far it is growing well in a balmy corner partial sheltered from rain.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kalanchoe brachyloba

Have been trying to nail down the identity of this member of crassulaceae for a while. My best guess is kalanchoe brachyloba; a species widespread across central and southern Africa.  The subrosulate arrangement of very fleshy succulent leaves and having a tuberous rootsock matches the description well. This was purchased from the famous Chatuchak market in Bangkok back in 2006. It was one of the cheaper miscellaneous offering in small pots where one normally associate with easy to propagate and common stuff. Frankly, it is definitely an easy non-demanding plant that thrive on neglect but it is not fast growing. Under ever warm tropical condition without significant change in summer/winter day lenght, i am not counting on it to flower and confirm its identity.  

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Tillandsia kegeliana

This is my first 2009 posting.  I have been pondering what to feature although i have many plant photos saved in my harddisk.  2 plants were purchased from Denis of Tropiflora during the inaugural Singapore Garden Festival Show in 2006. Tropiflora cargo report Vol 13 No 3. 2003 had this description "T. kegeliana. This is the rare deep-red clone from the hinterlands of the Darien in Pananma. A rather small plant, growing to about 6" across in a somewhat bulbous, greenish-grey red tinted open rosette. The inflorescence is a short, inflated, arrowhead-shaped scape of deep red with red flowers. Mature plants, US$7.50 (S$12.9). #480".  Each plant was priced at S$12 (US$7.8) similar to 2003, but nominally cheaper on a inflation adjusted basis. In Lyman Smith's Monograph on Tillansioideae in Flora Neotropica, Panama, Darien was recorded as a locality ofT. kegeliana in 1914. The distribution of this species stretches from Panama to northeastern Brazil. The type Kegel 881 is from Suriname and so i guess it is named after Kegel. 

Somehow, i find the name Kegel familiar and yes.. There's a Dr Arnold H. Kegel (1894 - 1981) who was a gynecologist that invented Kegel Perineometer (used from measuring vaginal air pressure) and Kegel exercises (squeezing of the muscles of the pelvic floor). I wonder if the same Dr. Kegel collect specimen 881! 

While i had 2 plants, one rotted and collapsed within days of owning it. I suspected it travelled with water in the rosette.  Wet Tillandsias travel very very poorly. The other plant grows exceptionally well and pupped into 2 here.