Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My explorer friend finally found C. villosa!

Do visit his blog to view the nice photographs he took of C. villosa in their natural habitat.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

C. sp. 'Lingga Island' location 14 cryptocpryne flowering

My friend invited me over to his place to view the open spathe of a collected specimen of C. sp. "Lingga Island' from location 14 (his code). It was a spathe with red limb and as expected, the limb was covered with protuberances. I managed to snap a few photographs to share with you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

C. cordata Kingdom in Rompin

I went with my explorer friend to explore the peat swamp forests in Rompin and we stumbled upon a C. cordata Kingdom! The forests were water logged peat swamp forests with C. cordata covering the entire forest bed, well at least up till the areas which we ventured into.

They were all over, some carpets submersed and some emersed.

We found many specimens of cryptcorynes with different looking leaves, ranging from orbicular and soft like barclaya to cordate to ovate with whitish vein. Were they all C. cordata or a mixture of different species? If they were all C. cordata, it then would again be a good example of how varied cryptocoryne can be even though they are the same species in the same environment and how difficult it could be to identify crpytocorynes correctly without finding an attached opened spathe.

The forest bed was muddy and the pH of the water was about 5.0 to 5.5.

Below are the photographs of the bright yellow spathes.

As usual, we cut open some spathes to take a few close up shots of the male and female flowers.

So is this C. cordata var. cordata found in Peninsula Malaysia?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

C. xpurpurea 'Tasik Bera'

My explorer friend brought me to the forest beside a river connected to Tasik Bera (Lake Bera) in Pahang state last weekend. We were there to look for Cryptocoryne xpurpurea and hopefully find some flowering specimens in their natural habitat. According to my friend, the water level of the river had fallen by about 1 metre since he last went there. I measured the pH of the water, it was between 5 to 5.5.

There were some boats docked along the bank of the river. We went to the nearby orang asli (indigenous people) houses, showed them some photographs of spathes of cryptocorynes and asked them whether they have seen such plants before. We were quite surprised when they replied us that they have not seen them before as my friend collected some at this same location previously.
We told one of the villager that we had collected the plants from inside the river and asked him whether he knew who owned the boats. He suddenly put on his clothes, walked out of his house and took out an oar with him and offered to give us a lift to search for the plant. It turned out that he owned one of the small man made wooden canoe.

I discussed with my friend that he should be the one going with the helpful villager on the canoe as I do not know how to speak Malayu and will encounter communication problems later. The villager, who became our boatman clarified with us that his canoe can take 4 person'. After slowly and carefully boarding the canoe (the canoe edge is just a few inches above water and can easily topple over due to its slender width), we were on our way. I was sitted at the rear of the canoe, my friend sitted in the middle helping to scoop out any water that occasionally would splash into the canoe.
It was a really very exciting experience and adventure travelling up the river on a small canoe searching for cryptocorynes It was similar to my Tanjung Sedili experience except that we were travelling up a huge river on a bigger motor boat instead, but we were looking for C. xpurpurea then too!
We asked our boatman to travel to the edge of the river instead, hoping to spot C. xpurpurea growing emersed along the bank.

I started to find leaves of C. xpurpurea floating all around in the water along the edges of the river and picked up the leaves to show the boatman. When he saw the leaves, he told my friend that had he knew that we were looking for this plant earlier, he could have showed us already as they were all over!
He docked the canoe to one side of the bank and jumped into the river. The river water level came up to his chest level at the deepest portion (i.e. mid of river), meaning that the depth should be about 1 metre deep (closer to 2m when my friend was there previously).

The boatman started to "fish" about using his legs (i.e. sole and toes). Suddenly, he seemed to have found something and lifted it out of the water into the canoe. It was a huge bunch of C. xpurpurea!
We were utterly shocked at what we saw. We did not expect that the whole river bed would be covered by such large quantities of C. xpurpurea and that the cryptocorynes would be thriving at such deep depth. I guessed that the cryptocorynes should be rooted among thick soft layers of plant debris from the forest (i.e. leaves, branches, bark, etc), judging from the ease the boatman manage to lift out the cryptocorynes and the remains on the canoe.

Below is a close up shot of the leaves of C. xpurpurea. Our boatman rowed us back to where we boarded the canoe since he had already managed to help us locate what we wanted to find. As usual, to support the orang asli communities, my friend paid him a token of appreciation and the boatman was shocked to receive the money (was it because he did not expected any returns when he offered to help us or was it because we were too generous with our token of appreciation?) and thanked us for it before we departed.

We did not managed to find any spathes this time round but I hope that I will have a chance to travel up the rivers of Tasik Bera again and be able to photograph them blooming in nature.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

C. nurii 'Mersing' revisited

I revisited the C. nurii 'Mersing' natural habitat with my explorer friend. The water level was higher as compared to that during my previous visit. Below are some photographs which I took:

Reflections of the morning sun.

Can you spot me?

The submersed leaves.

The blooming spathes submersed by the rising water level.

Above are some close up on the spathe and leaves of a collected specimen, don't you just love the heart shape limb of the spathe?!?!

Friday, July 10, 2009

C. sp. 'Pahang 3'

I had the chance to visit C. sp. 'Pahang river' location with my explorer friend last weekend. My friend has visited this place a few times already but can never find any spathe to confirm the species identification. It is a black water stream with pH between 5 to 5.5.

There was a patch of cryptocoryne growing in emersed condition on the muddy banks. Below are some close up shots of them

Below are how the submersed leaves of specimens found near this patch looked like.

Across the stream, we saw another 2 patches of submersed cryptocorynes too. The cryptocoryne from one of the patch looked similar to those shown above.

However, the other patch of cryptocorynes looked slightly different with rather beautiful markings on the top side and underside of the leaves.

What species could this be? My friend thought that it could be C. cf. zukalii, I hope he will be able to find a flowering specimen soon.