Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Some Philippine trees indigenous to Bangkok.

The minute that I set foot on Bangkok, I couldn't help but notice the trees that lined the streets of this city. Thailand being a tropical country is just at the western side of the Philippines after Vietnam & Cambodia, which make sense why some flora found in their country are also indigenous to my country. Majority of the landscaped trees I observed along Bangkok's public areas are comprised of the ff:

Young Narra (Pradu, Pradu-ban) trees are planted in the middle of the island road and side streets of the metropolis as shown here at N8 station of Sukhumbit Line near Chatuchak Park. I wonder why I didn't see any century old trees of this species. Could it be that mature specimens were felled years ago or that they were just introduced into the city landscape?

Shown at right is a fruiting and flowering Bitaog (Ka-than-han, Krathing, Tang-hon) tree within the compound of the WAT INTHARAWIHAN temple.

Also nearby and a couple of steps away from the Bitaog tree is this Banaba (Tabeak, Tabek) tree.

Dita (Thia, Tin-pet) trees complement this side of the MBK shopping center, which is found at the corner of Rama I road and Phaya Thai road. I also saw a specimen at the parking area of the Cobra Show and numerous specimen along roadways and parks.

Though I didn't see any mature trees when I was in Bangkok, here in the Philippines they grow to majestic sizes of about 40 meters in height and about 100 cm bole diameter.

While riding
the elephant along the trails of the Elephant Village, I was surprised to see this Akleng-parang (suan, Thing-thon) tree. There was another specimen of this at the parking area of the RTC wood carving.

I saw Talisai (Hu Kwang) trees along the trails of this area. Observed planted trees along roadways and establishments within the city as well.

From left to right is a photo of an Agoho (Son-tha-le), Bangkal (Krathum, Krathum-bok, Taku) and Molave (Bin-nok) tree, which I observed growing along or near the river canal going to the Dumnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Lastly, I encountered a lot of young Bungang-Jolo trees, popularly known as Manila palm or Christmas palm within the landscaped gardens of Chatuchak Park. They were planted in groups of two's and three's.

According to Wikipedia, this particular palm tree is only found growing in the Philippines. This means that this species has been introduced to Bangkok and probably throughout Thailand.

The Manila palm is considered to be an ornamental palm. It is a proliferous fruiting tree and can produce hundreds of single seeded fruit in one season alone.
I can imagine our very own Manila palm becoming invasive in other countries if not properly handled.

Note: Pardon me if I have made any error with regards to spelling of Thai names of tree species or places. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

COMPOT for the Lazy Forester!

Are you the type of person who's always on the Go? Is your garden too small to accommodate more plants? Do you worry that your efforts will be wasted if the seeds will not germinate? Does getting more soil for your planting needs a problem? Is watering an issue for you?.....Then why don't you start something small like a COMPOT (community pot)?


Photo: Germinated Pandakaki seedlings which were kept moist on the surface of the soil medium. Will be repotted once they grow to considerable size.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Upcoming Buri Plantation.

The first time that I collected Buri seeds was when I was driving by Santo Tomas and Alaminos, Laguna. This palm tree that stood majestic from afar could be seen from a hundred meters away. It was months or weeks ago since I last drove by this area to investigate it's distinct crown with heavily laden fruits to check if it was already ripe for my picking.

Luckily, I was able to find someone who was willing to collect a bagful of rotten fruits with precious seeds within in exchange for a considerable amount of money. A few pieces up to a dozen would be fine, but no lesser than 500 up to a thousand seeds made me realize that I was a bit hoarding. I wasn't sure if I was going to be happy or sad. The easy part of collecting was done. Preparing for the real challenge of germinating hundreds of Buri seeds was the next step.

All I did was mix the seeds with moist soil and placed it inside a large plastic bag, sealed the bag and set it aside where sunlight would be able to reach it during the day. I was checking the seeds once in a while for weeks and months until I got tired and sort of glancing through the transparency of the plastic seem to get things done fast and effortless.

I thought that germinating the Buri seeds would take me a year, because it seemed that long a wait. Approximately, it took about 10 months of my tender loving care when I first noticed the first roots and shoots growing inside the plastic bag. Soon enough the plastic bag was full of young shoots eager to get out of their container. Putting them inside the bag was a breeze, but taking them out one by one carefully is like removing each strand of hair from their dreadlocks, as I can just imagine.

Of course, repotting bare root Buri seedlings is not an easy task either. One has to handle the seedlings carefully as delicate roots could easily get damaged. The arduous task of potting dozens to a hundred seedlings at a time will take hours to finish. Whew! I can remember all the hard work put in just to do that specific task.

3years, 1month and 5days after, since the first day that I acquired those seeds and they are now ready to be outplanted. Parting is such sweet sorrow so I have decided to keep them all to myself and take it a notch higher by establishing that future Buri plantation. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

ALIM (Melanolepis multiglandulosa var. multiglandulosa)

local name: Alim
scientific name: Melanolepis multiglandulosa var. multiglandulosa
family: Euphorbiaceae

habitat: This small tree can be found growing in thickets and secondary growth forests at low and medium altitudes.
uses: Bark, leaves and flowers are used to treat scurf like dandruff, chest pains and fever. In Papua New Guinea, components of this tree are also used to treat snake bites. Wood is used as lumber.
properties: Sudorific and vermifuge.