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by : BTF

As I Wander...

Living in tropical Malaysia, we tend to take the hot humid weather, thundery rainstorms and the spectrum of wild evergreen plants as a given.

Recently, I noticed more exotic plants making its way into landscaped home gardens, recreational parks, frontages of shopping malls and
commercial buildings.

Along kerb sides of residential streets and busy motorways, palms, trees and flowering plants make pleasant and interesting fringes.

This is a record of the various species "as I see it" for I am in awe of palms. Hence, my premise for this blog is that the global garden,
i.e. every physical garden (tended or untended), becomes a part of my, simply said, cyber palm garden. ;-)

Please feel free to share your thoughts or comments.

Thank you for visiting!

ShaShinKi - Malaysia's Online Camera Shop!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Seasons Greetings!

To wish you all, a Peaceful and blessed Christmas time with family and friends...

The merriment of the season and year end is here, with the familiar tunes of ol' carols still ringing in my ears... yet I ponder where the days have flown and what little I managed to achieve or done to fill up the last 12 months.

Now, as we hover over week 52 of the year with my rush to complete missed and outstanding chores, can't help but noticed how quickly the last quarter had elapsed or was it just my funny feeling with age catching up?  Honestly, the earth must be spinning that wee bit faster with each passing year, as is, with all things gaining momentum!
wreath of baubles
English village scene @ 1 Utama,,PJ

Toyland @ Mid Valley
Santa @ Empire, Subang Jaya
poinsettias galore
As we forlornly tear away the last page of the calendar or have it scrapped for good, as a creature of habit, we always line up a bright new one to usher in the new year...

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Scenic KLCC Park #2

Discovering this beautifully designed park has been absolute eye opener for me and to think it had been around all these ages makes it more regrettable that I'd not ventured there earlier... such artful encapsulation of design and nature - just stupendous!

Besides the magnificent green hues, at selected rest areas one can find complementary colours from the flowering trees and leaves.  Here's some from nature's palette...

top left - plumeria; top right - albizia guachapele (chime tree);
bottom left - plumeria; bottom right - ixora

ficus elastica
ochroma pyramidale (balsawood)

left - saraca thaipingensis ;
 right - erythrina fusca (coral bean)

left - ixora; right - plumeria
Locally, the various visually striking plumerias are known as 'frangipanis' which exude the most unforgettable  fragrance only at night to lure the moths for pollination...

The official opening hours at the KLCC Park are 7am - 10pm daily (last admission 1hr 30mins before close).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Gebang Palm

Botanical Name : Corypha utan/Corypha elata
a.k.a. Gebang (Malay)/Buri

The "bronzy-leaved" palms are such a cheerful contrast to the park greens with steel masses in the background.  Actually, there were two groups of the Gebang palms in the KLCC park. These being so eye-catching, one could not miss....

One batch were planted beside the C. umbraculifera and some larger, shadier trees. They seemed okay but less happy.

This batch on the undulating ground beside the man-made stream and an adjacent pedestrian bridge looks absolutely vibrant and "sun tanned" in the the open.  Just stunning!

sunny & toasted
These palms are found in India, throughout South-east Asia and even at the tip of Northern Australia. Their habitat are mainly along river courses, flood plains and grassy land.  These large and tall palms do grow to heights of about 20m.  Like the C. umbraculifera, they also flower towards the end of their lifetime with a massive display of a long inflorescence with countless flowers.

shady spot
large palmate leaves

The woody trunk is capped with many petiole ends, all armed with spines! 

The Talipot Palm

Botanical Name : Corypha umbraculifera

One of the ginormous palms sighted todate!  Everything about this young palm is humongous so the picture here may not indicate its true proportion but standing beside it, I felt like a David & Goliath.

A native of Southern India and Sri Lanka, it is widely cultivated throughout South-east Asia where its leaves are used for thatching and palm sap fermented into a wine.

Its impressive statistics would be somewhat a Guinness record of the flora kind. Some of its awesome and dramatic characteristics are - it can reach heights of 25m; it's monocarpic i.e. flowering only once in its lifetime between 30-80yrs; the largest unbranched inflorescence with uncountable (a million?) miniscule flowers; the fruits take about a year to mature and a sad quirk of nature - the palm dies after fruiting.

The long robust petioles can reach lengths up to 4m, looks clean and without spines while the large palmate leaves stretch out wide about 3-4m in diameter.

playing host to epiphytic ferns

Impressive but definitely not one for the small home garden!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Unknown Palm - Please help with ID

The colour red strikes again!

Still strolling through the Park when a batch of low palm fronds caught my eyes.  The usual bright green feather fronds were normal enough BUT what's really thrilling for me were the young shoots, hovering from bright to dull red

Nothing like I've seen before!!!  My heart thumped with excitement at such an amazing find!

They were thriving under the shade of some tall trees.  What's really unusual beside its young red frond is the 'prehistoric looking' horizontal trunk lying on the ground with palms sprouting from them.

This is surely one of my best rare finds to date. :)  Definitely hope to put a name to it and any comments or leads will be much appreciated! TQ

The Lipstick Palm #2

Botanical Name : Cyrstotachys renda

Well, the countdown to the number of species at the KLCC Park has begun!  Not sure if able to ID or recognise all the 66? species (74 even, in some communication).  Having gone round the park twice, I didn't think there were that many but will try to. Hence, the start of TRY is here with some of the more common species and easily identifiable ones.

There were 2 groups of the clustering Lipstick Palms. The most obvious is the group on an 'island' nearest to the Mall.  They look fabulous but due to separation by a wide margin of shallow water, could only capture a rather distant shot.
on park grounds
The 2nd group of red palms were found around mid park.  Here's a merge of the two.

island escapade
The colour red will always be an impressive nature's show stopper!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Asian Palmyra Palm #2

Botanical Name : Borassus flabellifer

Also known as the Toddy Palm or the Sugar Palm, this group of ten stunning palm trees were enough to hold me spellbound for a few minutes. Just so awe inspiring!

The solitary trunks surrounded by leaf scars were beautifully adorned with parasitic ferns lending a soft touch to the well-manicured lawns.

The short stout petioles make for a tidy crown.  These robust palms were about 20ft tall and were in different stages of their inflorescence stalks drying out.

As the park grounds were tidied earlier, chances of finding any dropped fruits would be rare as they'd probably be picked up daily since it's edible and quite delicious too.  Luckily, a most recent descent helped me scoop this prized nut photo. About the size of a grapefruit, the mature fruit is brownish with purple streaks!

This palm species, self cleaning to boot, is definitely an attractive landscape addition for any large parks and gardens!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Nibung Palm

Botanical Name : Oncosperma tilligarium
a.k.a Nibung/Nibong (Malay)

As the KLCC Park was established in 1980, in a simplified way, the specimens seen here (at this park) would be much older than the 2 decade old park.

Native to South East Asia, this group of 'nibung' were among the first seen when I stepped out into the sunshine from the Park Mall wing of the complex, having alighted the LRT at the basement level. It was grown closest to the building.  This is a pinnate clustering palm with gentle droopy fronds.  Apparently one of the easier species to recognise from afar.

The cluster with slender trunks were upright and tall (my estimate puts them at approx. 30ft).  Being planted beside the building, this group enjoys partial shade.


placid warning

While the bright green fronds swayed in the gentle breeze, the intense black spikes on the stems presented quite a menacing sight. It wasn't till I backed away that I noticed the yellow warning signs, 3 altogether.  Had to laugh because the posts were signed inward, facing the palm cluster, as opposed to signing outward to warn the public!  That I managed to read it upon retreating meant I had encroached on danger zone! :)

Did not notice any inflorescence nor fruit at this time.

In native communities throughout SE Asia, the 'nibung' stems are used as a hard wood to support the building and flooring of huts. Deadly job all that de-needling?  Meanwhile, the fronds are used for roofing and also, woven into baskets. Makes me appreciate these true 'green' eco-warriors!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Scenic KLCC Park

Decided the night before (after a heavy downpour), that this morning would be best to see some refreshing greens at a public park after a seasonally hot and dry week. Procrastination had been keeping me off this project and it's time to jump start the engine again...

Diligently joined the morning rush hour passengers to KLCC from Masjid Jamek LRT station.  It's a convenient 3 stop ride even though it's standing room only. For me, just wanted to be there bright and early, much cooler too!
The famous Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) mega development houses the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and the exquisitely posh Suria Mall.  Adjoining, is an amazingly serene green lung designed to soften the masses of cold hard steel and concrete. Such a delightful area of peaceful calm, filled with chirpy bird calls, gentle rolling greens merged with a man-made lake, a wading pool and an enormous children's playground.

Designed by renowned Brazilian landscape architect, Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994), the 20 hectare park was aimed to "leave the world a little more sensitive and a little more educated to the importance of nature".  Amongst the nearly 1900 indignenous trees, 66 species of palms (yes!) were planted to encourage bio-diversity as well as selected tree species to attract local and migratory birds.

jogging track


Obviously, need more than a couple of visits to appreciate this park in general and the many palm species in particular.  Some are new to me and found it really exciting to have seen them here.
Pity, all the palms were not named on signposts, only some specific indigenous trees been tagged with that information.

More info via this link KLCC Park.