Sunday, April 26, 2009

C. scurrilis re-collected from type specimen's locality

Hi All,

My explorer friend went to Sumatra this week and managed to re-collect what is believed to be C. scurrilis from the C. scurrilis type specimen's locality around the Indragiri Hulu (Hulu means upstream in Indonesian) region in the Riau province in Sumatra. Visit his blog if you want to view the photographs and use the embedded translation tool if required as his blog is in Japanese.

C. cf. xpurpurea nothovar. purpurea 'Mersing Barat'

C. xpurpurea nothovar. purpurea was found by H.N. Ridley in 1892, near Kota Tinggi in Johor state of Malay Peninsula. Last year, two cryptcoryne enthusiasts from Malaysia (Joshua and Herman) published on their blog about their expedition trip in South-east Johor on boats where they found large carpet of blooming C. xpurpurea.

I tried to locate the same location during one day last year with my explorer friend but failed to do so due to lack of time. The main river branches into too many smaller rivers and a trip up some of these smaller rivers could take a few hours each. Nevertheless, it was a very enriching trip, travelling up the river observing how the river side vegetation changed from brackish to freshwater, and seeing large hornbills and smaller kingfishers flying across the wide river. It felt like being in the Amazon of south east Asia!

Another famous location where C. xpurpurea could be found is in Tasik Bera in Pahang state, the largest natural lake in Malay Peninsula. My explorer friend negotiated with some 'Orang Asli' to help to collect these cryptocorynes in return for some cash, instead of collecting the plants himself to provide some economic support to these indigenous minority peoples. This is how the C. xpurpurea from Tasik Bera looked like:

My explorer friend also managed to locate the C. cf. xpurpurea from another locality at Mersing Barat (west of Mersing) and I was lucky to be able to visit this natural habitat with him last weekend. The cryptocorynes could be found in a small flowing stream beside the edge of a forest, the leaves being brownish in colour generally, were well camouflaged among the dead leaves and thick hair grass in the stream and could easily be missed. The underside of the leaves were very purplish red and marred with black markings.

The water level was quite low and many emersed specimens could be located along the banks on the stream. The base substrate of the stream comprise mainly of sand and the pH of the water measured was about 5.5.

We bashed into the forest hoping to find more carpets of cryptocorynes but there was none, perhaps we did not bashed deep enough. I collected 2 itchy and irritating leech bites instead from this forest.

We found an unopened spathe and collected the specimen back. It opened one day later in my house. Below are some photographs of the spathe. I cut it opened during day 6 of the spathe opening, after the spathe started to rot and fall sideways.

The cryptocorynes from this location were identified as C. xpurpurea nothovar. purpurea in a recently published book on cryptocorynes. Comparing these specimens to the photographs of C. xpurpurea from the more classic locations of Kota Tinggi and Tasik Bera, these from Mersing Barat:
  1. lack the yellowish throat,
  2. have thicker red collar,
  3. have browner leaves with redder underside of leaves,
  4. are smaller in size and
  5. have slightly longer stigmas.
Maybe the differences were caused by the differences in their natural habitat environment (i.e. substrate, type of habitat, pH, etc). My friend thought that they looked more similar to C. jacobsenii instead so he termed them as C. cf. jacobsenii in his blog. What do you think, should these specimens from Mersing Barat be considered as C. purpurea or something else?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

C. sp. 'Lingga - Red' plantlets development (2nd mth)

As you all can see, not many plantlets survived at the end of month 2, probably due to the heat built-up in my tank causing a lot of leaves of various cryptocorynes to constantly melt. Well, good! Time to combine them into one pot to make space for my other new cryptocorynes! :-p

Monday, April 20, 2009

Re-visitng C. nurii 'Mersing'

I had the good fortune to visit the natural habitat of C. nurii 'Mersing' again last weekend with my explorer friend. Unlike the last time when we reached there only in the evening, we arrived in the early morning this time round and travelled deeper along the river.

We were greeted by carpets of cryptocorynes. The uneven levels of river bed gave rise to intermittent sections of emersed and submersed cryptocorynes.
We were able to locate many riped fruits, of which some still had seeds attached.
From the photograph, you can tell that the base of the river is sandy and mixed with stones (laterites?). The pH was between 5.5 to 6 according to what I measured previously, no measurement was done this time.
I like the spathes of this variation of C. nurii very much, with the heart shape limb perpendicular to the tube, very romantic!
Another feature which is distinct to this variation of C. nurii is the red dots lined along the veins of the leaves.
The new emersed leaves are reddish brown in colour (in terms of entire leaf colour) as opposed to the older leaves which looked brownish green.
I thought the red dots are confined to appear along the leaf veins only but I was wrong. There were some leaves which we termed as "with crazy markings!"
As usual, we removed a specimen with a fully opened spathe to cut the flower to examine the interior of the kettle.