Monday, October 11, 2010

Checking out the native flora being sold at AANI weekend market last Sunday.

I went to visit the AANI weekend market, within the Lung Center of the Philippines compound in Quezon City last Sunday. Not really thinking of buying anything specific or being anxious of discovering what native specimens I would find in the plant and garden section, but was just going to meet up with a friend.

It was rather late arriving at around 8am, since business picks up at around 5-5:30 in the morning. Seeing my friend, we proceeded to the plant section to check out what plants were being sold.

The first native plants that I noticed were the wild angiopteris palmiformis (giant fern or pakong-kalabaw), which only had a few foliage as most were cut off to prevent transpiration from balling out from the wild and additional stress from the long travel coming from distant provinces of Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya and other places.

One particular stall, termed as "gubatum" (from the forest) by my other friend were selling wild native orchids contained species of ascocentrum, aerides, trichoglottis, eria, micropera formerly camarotis, cystochis or "jewel orchids" along with a few centrostema (shooting star), hoya, dischida and lecanopteris (ant fern). There were other species, but the ones mentioned are the only ones that I can identify and remember.

Moving on, my friend and I passed the corner where pinus kesiya commonly known as Benguet pine seedlings were regularly sold. It makes me think of Baguio (the summer capital of the Philippines), evergreen pine forest, vegetable produce and many more.......I also saw a lone Bagauak-morado (clerodendrum quadriloculare) near this area. It didn't look healthy. Probably because it was constricted within the confines of it's ceramic pot.

Another stall that we passed had a couple of mutant ferns, pitogo sp. and alocasia zebrina I think. The assistant of the seller/owner was eager to sell me some of their plants that he was mentioning that the pitogo sp. was a golden variety due to it's yellowish colored rachis, though I could not distinguish the difference as it looked pretty ordinary to me.

Turning and reaching the last stretch of muddy pathway and plant stalls, I was surprised to see more species of giant ferns. I thought that seeing more of them being sold meant that landscapers are also using more of this species and that this meant that wild populations are dwindling and becoming rare. What a pity, knowing that most if not all would perish as they don't thrive well in Manila, based from my experience.

It was my first time to encounter this plant belonging to the Araceae family as it was about an astonishing 2.5-2.8 meters in height from floor to leaves and having a flower that seemed double the size of my hand. What a great find I thought except that I learned that it's habitat was being in waterlogged areas in order to survive made me decide to take a pass at this opportunity. Come to think of it, I didn't even ask for the price.

I think that it was the last of the "gubatum" sellers that I spotted a palm species that I had not encountered before. The vendors didn't know of it's name except that they called it "black palm", simply because of it's almost dark purplish brown leaf sheath, if I remembered it correctly, and that they were enthusiastic knowing that I had taken interest to it. The young plant of this look similar to a Bunga (areca catechu). My guess is that it is either an areca sp. or a pinanga sp.. Nevertheless, I acquired a few small specimen, knowing that they were native from our country and that they would survive under my care.

And so we passed the last stall of the plant section. The end was evident, but it was certainly not the last of produce finds. Because as we walked by the area of fruit stands, hanging onto the metal frames of one of the tent were dangling Marang-banguhan (artocarpus odoratissimus) fruits, popularly known as Marang. As if to signify the coming of the Christmas season, wherein round shape fruits are particularly popular and believed to bring good luck among Filipino and Filipino-Chinese countrymen. To match the season of merry making, it was also my first time to see a locally produced Bignai (antidesma bunius) wine being sold at one booth and a Bignai tea at another.


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