Friday, February 27, 2009

Another spathe from C. cf. nurii 'Bintan' opened

Another collected spathe of C. cf. nurii 'Bintan' opened today. From the appearance of the spathes so far, do you think it is C. nurii? Should the appearance of the leaves or the spathes take precedence in the identification?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

C. cf. nurii 'Bintan'

My friend located C. cf. nurii 'Bintan' two weekends ago and passed me some specimens with unopened spathe (as usual, haha, do note that I have only managed to "bloom" C. pontederiifolia and C. wendtii from scratch up till now :-p). The spathe opened yesterday and below are some photographs to share with you.

If you search on the internet, you will realised that these plants have been considered as C. nurii 'Bintan' by many, probably due to its elongated leaves with undulated margin and faint leaf veins. However, the spathe is slightly varied from that typical of C. nurii (i.e heart-shape limb being perpendicular to the tube). More checks and verifications are required to confirm if they could indeed be identified as C. nurii.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Trekking Across the Singapore Central Catchment Nature Reserve, C. griffithii found

I went for a hiking trip around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve in Singapore yesterday with Zane and Jwuog from AQ forum. We met at an MRT station at 0830hrs, took a cab to our intended start point and started our journey armed with a compass and an overview map printed from google earth as a guide.

We past by our first stream near to a water treatment facility. Water was gushing out of the facility from a concrete drain into the forest stream which probably eventually lead to the reservoir. The water faintly smelled of chlorine to me and other than a few adult channas, we did not see any other fishes inside this stream.

We did however spotted a copper cheek frog (Hydrophylax raniceps) perching on a tree branch overhanging the stream. The frog did not try to escape when bombarded by the flashes from our cameras, maybe it could smell the chlorine too? I trust that someone must have conducted sufficient test and maybe have added tonnes of aquarium water conditioner before releasing treated water through our forest to ensure the safety of all the aquatic life in the nature. "How I wished I could have such natural and effective biological filter system too."

There were many species of pitcher plants which could be found in Singapore forest, we spotted a few species on our trip, can anyone help in the identification so that I can include their ID here? (1st photograph: Nepenthes gracilis? 2nd photograph: Nepenthes ampullaria? 3rd photograph: ? 4th photograph: Nepenthes gracilis?)

We found the remains of a gigantic turtle buried deep in the forest as well as that of a smaller one near to the reservoir edge. Which species could the large shell possibly belonged to, the carapace length is possibly about 60cm judging from the scale as compared to my friend's size 9 shoes. I searched the "Wild Animal of Singapore" guide book and the only featured species that could grow to such large size is the Asian Softshell Turtle (Amyda cartilaginea). Any expert views on this?
After a while, we trekked out of the forest into the open land near to the reservoir edge. It is quite clear from the soft muddy substrate and edge vegetation details that during rainy season when the water level is high, this entire open area will be flooded under water. It is a serene and beautiful area and we took a break for lunch here.

We found many bumble bee gobies (Brachygobius xanthomelas) along the edge of the reservoir, the substrate is sandy and the pH is close to 6. We also managed to see a large freshwater lobster (about one palm length) along the small stream in the middle of the above area as shown above.
We heading back into the forest after our lunch break and crossed a couple of other streams during the entire journey. We saw spanner barbs (Systomus lateristriga), wild forest bettas (Betta pugnax), Channa sp, halfbeaks, harlequin rasboras (Trigonostigma heteromorpha), etc as well as this large freshwater crab which has lost one of its pincer (ID anyone?).

This is a photograph of the natural habitat of harlequin rasbora, the base of the stream is covered with a thick layer of fallen leaves and the pH is about 5.5 to 6.

And of course, being a cryptocoryne enthusiast, the trip would not be complete without locating cryptocorynes right at the end of our journey. It is C. griffithii growing in a small stream rooted among the fine roots of adjacent plants. The substrate at the edge of the stream is muddy and the pH of this locality is about 5.5. We saw bettas, freshwater shrimps and even freshwater crabs hiding beneath the submersed leaves of the cryptocorynes.

We ended our adventure at about 1700hrs, tired but satisfied with what we managed to locate and see.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

C. sp. 'Lingga - Red' seeds germination progress

After about 3 days after harvesting the seeds out of the pod, 12 out of 40 plus healthier seeds have germinated. So far typically, a green tip will start to grow out from one end of a seed (see 1st photograph below), as the the tip lengthen, it will reveal loops at the sides (see 2nd photograph below) which will spread apart to look like antennas (see 3rd photograph below) as the tip continue to grow longer. Sorry I am just an amateur hobbyist so my descriptions of my observations might sound crude to some. :-p

Saturday, February 14, 2009

C. sp. 'Lingga - Red' seeds

When I first received specimens of C. sp. 'Lingga Island' from my friend in Nov 08 last year, there was one specimen which has 2 fruits on it (see below, one is near to my index finger and one is near to my thumb). One melted away after a few weeks while the other slowly grew and finally opened up this week.

Unlike in the nature where the fruit will open into a beautiful multi-pointed star shape, the fruit in my humid and warm tank merely opened up at the tip to reveal the seeds inside. As the entire fruit looked as if it was starting to rot, I decided to cut the fruit and throw the fruit together with the seeds into a tupperware of water to attempt to harvest the seeds.
The fruit started to melt and disintegrate away after I started to twirl and stir it in the water revealing the seeds. I slowly removed the seeds from the remnants of the fruit and found out that some of the seeds were rather hard and healthy while others had turned soft and seemed as if they were starting to rot. A total of about 40 healthier seeds were harvested as compared to about 30 rotting seeds and 2 of the 40 seeds have started germinating.
The seeds below are those which had started to melt.
The seeds below are the harder ones with 2 which have already started to geminate.
The remnants of the fruit which had quickly disintegrated away in water.

I separated the healthier seeds into 2 batches and placed them in separate covered tupperwares, one batch is placed on wet ADA Amazonia soil while the other batch is placed on wet ADA Amazonia soil + lapis sand. The unhealthy ones were placed in a separate container with wet tissue as base. Hopefully the healthier seeds will not continue to rot and will start to germinate soon.
I will keep you guys updated of the outcome. As this is the first time I am harvesting the seeds of cryptocoryne and trying to germinate them, any suggestions are most welcomed! Thanks!