Friday, July 30, 2010

Eria ornata – still blooming!


More than a month later, this is still blooming. The inflorescence is now more than a foot long, close to two. Here’s the first post I made in June about this beautiful species:

Update: I was told it's been taken out of the Eria genus and now known as Dendrolirium ornatum. Anyone have more info about this change?

The small lip reminds of a dried leaf!

Though the flowers are rather small and drab, it’s hard not to like this species. Just look at those bright orange bracts! They are long lasting too; older ones are retained along the lower section of the inflorescence even though the flowers have long dropped.

This one is the longest and oldest of 3 inflorescences. All appeared late May. I accidentally broke the tip off one of them while photographing the flowers last month. I should check again to see if the inflorescence branched off because of that.

This looks wild doesn’t it? It’s actually on a small fruit tree in my backyard. I tied it to this tree nearly 3 years ago when I found it struggling to survive in a pot. Ironically, it is now the most healthy and most floriferous compared to my other clump which used to be large and healthy but have since regressed.

This is an old photo taken in July 2009 when this clump first flowered. If I remember correctly, I bought it late 2007 which should be about the same time I tied it to this tree.

It’s a really nice species to keep for the long lasting orange bracts! However, it can be quite fickle and if it decides to go, it will go without hesitation! That was what happened to my other large clump which is now reduced to just a few struggling p-bulbs. I may have to tie them to this tree too! :)

Three types of Baccaurea fruits


Thanks to Frank of , I now know the scientific name of the fruit we came across in Mulu NP. The locals called it "Mulu Apple" which I had long suspected to be a Baccaurea species. Baccaurea lanceolata to be specific. According to Frank, all Baccaurea species have edible skin, but not all are eaten or used in local or native cooking.

I have never tried the flesh or aril inside, just bit into the skin to have a taste. Has quite a tangy flavor which would explain why it’s suitable for use in cooking local dishes such as kari asam ikan or sour fish curry. Baccaurea angulata or buah gerumin aka tampoi belimbing is also used in the same manner.

Besides Mulu National Park (top photo), I have also come across B. lanceolata in the Bengoh dam area close to Kuching. It has also been reported in Sabah and West Malaysia. The name "Mulu Apple" as the locals call i,t is a bit misleading. The species is clearly found elsewhere and not endemic to Mulu.

This B. lanceolata tree laden with fruits was photographed next to some beautiful waterfalls in the Bengoh dam area, not too far from Kampung Semban. It appears to be a wild tree (not planted by farmers). Sadly, that place will be flooded come next year when the Bengoh dam is completed.

----3March2012----The Ibans call this fruit buah empaung and if I remember correctly, the Bidayuhs call it buah linggir but don't quote me as I didn't jot the name down! I saw the dried skin in a Bidayuh kampung and asked about the uses. Interesting stuff, will have to do a bit more research and fact finding before I write an entirely new entry about this fruit.----end update----

Baccaurea angulata which is locally known as buah gerumin or buah tampoi belimbing. The fruits have a tangy taste, both the aril and the skin. A seasonal fruit which is often seen from November to January, sold by roadside sellers and in native fruit and vege markets.

And this is perhaps the best known of all Baccaurea species, Baccaurea macrocarpa or buah tampoi. It is a popular seasonal fruit in Sarawak and usually available at the end of the year  (peak fruiting season). Some varities have white flesh.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blc. Haadyai Delight



More than a year ago, a friend sent me this plant. She said it's a Brassolaeliacattleya Haadyai Delight which is a complex hybrid of orchids from three related genera, Brassavola, Laelia and Cattleya. It’s blooming for the second time since I got it. The flowers are lightly scented and are about 4 inches across.




It was given to me in 2008 along with a Laelia briegeri and a small Brassoepidendrum (see photo below). The laelia, left, has flowered several times since then but the mini bepi, right, hasn’t shown much progress. In fact, I think its growth and size has regressed a little.




The last time this big golden yellow Blc. flowered was nearly a year ago, in September 2009 when it also produced 2 buds. Such a long time between flowerings when you look at the dates but honestly, I actually thought the last flowering was earlier this year. I had to look up some old photos in my photo archives to check when it last bloomed.


Yes, it’s quite a long wait but I have many other orchids to keep me busy. In fact, I hardly noticed this plant until the two golden blooms appeared and caught my attention when I was photographing a blooming Dendrobium linguella some days ago.




The photo above was taken with a pocket camera; thought I’d include it just to show the difference between this and the first two which were shot with a prime lens on a DSLR.


A nice healthy plant of a decent size shouldn’t cost more than RM40 in KL nurseries. If you like large golden yellow catts, this is definitely one to have in your collection!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My “wild” bellina


Walking around my wild backyard, I discovered a flower on the Phalaenopsis bellina I tagged to this Syzygium malaccense tree about two years ago! The bug/snail eaten flower smells great, like all bellina flowers do and I hope it gets pollinated naturally.


Sadly, between the time I first tagged it to the tree until its first flower, the tree’s been badly damaged by borers and termites and is slowly dying. Most of its branches have dried up and broken off. It’s a sad sight indeed as this tree has been around for as long as I could remember.



Borers and termites are a constant menace but I keep them away from the orchid house by spraying Malathion or similar pesticides. I really do not like using chemicals but will have to take drastic action asap because the termites are now attacking the big mango tree on the right.



I tagged 4-5 plants to this tree but only 2 survived to this day (no flowers from the other one yet). Got inspired to do so when I saw a friend’s tree full of P. bellina plants which look like they had naturally colonized it. Coincidentally, his tree is also a Syzygium species. When I visited him a couple years ago, I saw baby bellinas that had apparently germinated naturally in the moss on the tree bark. Amazing sight!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Goodbye Facebook

I very recently deactivated my FB account. It was sucking too much of my online time. Each time I switched on the laptop to try and hammer our an article or blog entry, I ended up wasting several hours on FB instead. So to help get things up to speed again, especially in my blog, I decided to suspend my fb activities. Thus, I’ll be uploading photos to flickr and finishing up some drafts in the days to come. I have parts 2 of my Simunjan and Maludam National Park visit to finish up!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Coelogyne asperata recovering from (unintentional) dog attack



This used to be a big healthy pot of C. asperata until my dogs decided to go postal on a rat that tried to hide in the pot. Too shocking for a whole plant shot. My dogs bit and chewed and pulled out pbulbs and roots leaving the orchid badly damaged. Another pot was knocked over and broken too. Thank goodness this is a tough species.




My pets also damaged (unintentionally of course) a precious phal which eventually succumbed to rot (too much trauma!!) after a mouse made a home in the wood mount. Posted a photo of that some time ago, my orchid CPR failed to save it.



*echo* Hello… hello… hello… anybody down there? anybody down there... anybody down there? 




This pot of coelogyne will regain its former glory. There are already lots of new growths forming.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pulau Lakei, Bako’s little jewel

This is the final part of my Bako 2010.05.24-25 adventure series.


Part 7 – Pulau Lakei and home…
Shortly after arriving at Teluk Limau, we set off in our 6 seater speedboat for Pulau Lakei north of Limau bay. The little isle is just a short distance away and the boat ride took less than 15 minutes.


I had always wanted to visit this little island after reading about it in a guide book. So it was quite a good feeling to finally land here. Sarawak doesn't have many nice islands (or even nice beaches) but I'd put Pulau Lakei (Lakei Island) down as one of the most unique islands I’ve ever visited. Located at the northern most tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula, it has only one small sandy beach strewn with broken seashells and coral chips. Except this one beach, rocky cliffs (and cliff vegetation) fringe the sea on all sides.


The types of vegetation closely mirror those found on the Bako plateau: white sandy trails, open grasslands and kerangas forests. There are a number of short trails and four main points of attraction - Makam Datuk Hj. Ibrahim, Kolam Salamun, Pa Amit Cape and a viewing point.

Visiting this beautiful place was a fitting end to our exhilarating adventure. A few weeks after this visit, I was back there again with another group of friends but that experience will be told some other time. Hope you’ve all enjoyed this series as much as I have enjoyed sharing it!

Photo gallery:
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The wooden buildings are not chalets but belong to the Sarawak Forestry Dept. However, visitors may make prior arrangements with park authorities to rent the units for overnight trips. The third picture shows broken sea shells and coral chips on the beach.

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Left to right, Pulau Lakei map; Tub of freshwater. Like mainland Bako, streams here are stained black by tannins; stairs leading to the upper part of the island and points of attraction.

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Second picture shows the mausoleum of Datuk Hj. Ibrahim who lived on the island about three centuries ago. The trails are well maintained here. Round stepping stones made of concrete and pebbles are put in place to aid walking though I found it much easier to just walk on the sandy paths. There is also a part with a two-way concrete foot-bridge! 

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And this my friends, is what makes visiting this island worth it! A gorgeous 180 degree view of the South China Sea. Unobstructed by anything in front of you, the emerald expanse is just so calming to look at. Unfortunately, the afternoon sun had baked the exposed rock to an unbearable temperature so we quickly took some snaps before leaving this viewpoint.

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Left picture: I find it amazing that this Spathoglottis plicata, a terrestrial orchid, has managed to survive on the extremely hot, exposed cliff top! Second picture, view of Mount Santubong to the west. Rightmost photo shows the Pa Amit Cape viewpoint.

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First two photos were taken from the Pa Amit viewpoint. The first one is a view of the Bako peninsula with Tanjung Rhu in view while the second is a view of the Santubong Peninsula to the west. Rightmost photo shows the stairs leading down to the fourth point of attraction, the Salamun Pond (Kolam Salamun) where it is believed that Datuk Hj. Ibrahim engraved some writings resembling Arabic calligraphy on the rock with his bare fingers.

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Kolam Salamun. Note the engraved writings in the rock, visible in the second and third photos.

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Second photo shows the island’s damaged pier which is no longer usable. Was told that violent storms and waves ripped apart half of the wooden structure and damaged the water-sampling station pictured in the rightmost photo.

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Leaving Pulai Lakei for Bako village. Along the way back, our boat man took us to see many points of attraction but we didn’t make any landings, just took photos from afar.

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One of the most famous and most photographed natural wonders at Bako is the cobra-head sea stack not far from Teluk Pandan Kecil.

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The “cobra-head” sea stack looks different when viewed from different angles or sides. The right most photo shows two other sea stacks which resemble human heads.

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Left, finally reaching the jetty at Bako village. Right, after a most tiring yet wonderful trip, I felt entitled to down a glass of ice cold Coke which was exactly what I did!

Thanks all for viewing and hope you all enjoyed this series! The End!
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