Friday, February 4, 2011

Myrialepis paradoxa: Paradoxically Yours

Myrialepis paradoxa - a climbing palm also called Rotan Kertong in Malay - is both monotypic and monocarpic. 'Monotypic' because it's a taxon possessing only one singular species, and 'monocarpic' because it's biologically programmed to flower only once in a lifetime, set seeds and then die. What can be more paradoxical than an event that involves a great burst of life, setting numerous seeds for posterity, yet ushering death, dying, of a mother in the end. A swansong to be true.

And should no one look at its fruit and not be confounded and surprised by its numerous tiniest of scales which, as if were, numbering the stars hidden in unfathomable scale of light-years but sparkle unmistakably just enough to illuminate one in wonderment? This, if not, is paradoxa in the greatest poetic tradition.

Fruit

Scales

Sepals

Remnant of stigma

Inside of fruit wall

Thorns

Myrialepis paradoxa (formerly M. scortechinii) compared to Plectocomiopsis geminiflora as found in one of my treasured books Palms of Malaya (by T.C. Whitmore). You may delight to know more of Plectocomiopsis geminiflora, a recent new record of Singapore, in the recently published paper in Nature in Singapore 2011 4: 1-4 (NUS) by L. L. Teo, S. K. Y. Lum and A. H. B. Loo. More photos of Myrialepis paradoxa are found there.

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