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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!

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.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Bottle Palm #3

Botanical Name : Hyophorbe lagenicaulis

As posted earlier, this native of Round Island in the Mascarenes is such a delightful palm to look at.  Its structure is compact and unique.  One can't help but think of a particular soft drink bottle it represents!

Prefers part shade but so far, all those sighted locally have been planted in full sun!  Perhaps, explains the yellowing of the feather leaves from the recent hot spell.  This is quite a hardy plant as long as there is adequate water (rain, of course!).

award-looking statuette
group specimen @ Prince Hotel & Residences, Jalan Conlay, KL
A robust and attractive palm, this space saving sculpture is lovely for the front lawn of any tropical landscape.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beauty & The Beasts

Admittedly, this is a non-palm post - an acute diversion from what I set out to find over the long weekend just past.

Instead, it turned out to be quite an unexpected yet interesting find of the commercial, correction, alien kind! Both acts caught the curious attention of mingling crowds including passers-by like myself, on a busy Saturday noon right smack in the Bukit Bintang 'shop till you drop' district in KL.

Promotions of new products and services were taken to new heights with these extraordinary and extraterrestrial outfits.
bedazzled @ Fahrenheit 88
androids in town
The above picture collages were created on It's free, easy to apply and I think the results appealing!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Mayotte Bismarck Palm #2

Botanical Name : Bismarckia nobilis (green form)

It's probably quite a coincidence catching the green Bismarckia at Lorong Maarof, prior post, with bunches of inflorescence but beyond my reach to record as they were way too high up (15ft +).

A thought came to mind to re-visit the earlier lot at Mutiara Damansara to check if these were flowering and fruiting too, assuming tis' the season...

As I strolled into the park and this time around, more confident about this Bismarckia green form being indeed the Mayotte Island Bismarckia and guess what???

trailing bunches

Several of the palms were heavily laden with infructescence and that was quite a remarkable sight.  While the fruits look the same as the fruits of the silver Bismarckia, at a glance, one might even say like olives!

leaf with cotton-like twirls

As I walked away from the park, I wondered what a lamentable loss it would have been had that 'Lorong Maarof moment' didn't strike me it did then...

The Mayotte Bismarck Palm

Botanical Name : Bismarckia nobilis (green form)

Sighted along the lower end of Lorong Maarof, nearer to Jalan Bangsar, a collection of grand Bismarcks - the silver and green species planted alternately in a row.

My first impression was that the smaller silver Bismarckia could be added on at a later date.  It wasn't till available information stated that the Mayotte Island species is markedly larger and taller, some nearly twice the height of the same age silvers, that it buzzed!

The Mayotte native's rate of growth is faster than its Madagascan counterpart with the former having originated from a wetter climate.

It's not often the two are planted so close together so this is a rare chance indeed to observe both, side by side.  The contrast in colour and height is amazing!

green with inflorescence

Deepavali | Festival of Lights

The Hindu and Sikh communities of Malaysia observed Deepavali or Diwali on 5Nov., according to the lunar calendar. For them, it is the most important festival of the year, with families performing prayers and religious rituals over five days to celebrate the victory of good over evil.

The national holiday is marked by visiting celebrants (known and unknown!!) and sharing in their festive spread, usually of traditional cakes and goodies or even a cultural feast known locally as "open house"!

Of note is the 'kolam' or sand painting decoration at the front entrance of homes or commercial enterprises to herald the festive mood. It is created with coloured rice and rice powder, usually a very vibrant and symmetrical art piece, simple or intricate.

Am really impressed with this "piece de resistance" @ Pavilion KL by students of limkokwing University of Creative Technology.
skillfully executed

garment of orchids

spectacular plumage with 'eyes'