Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tulostoma: Rare Fungus in Chek Jawa Coastal Forest

Never a day in Chek Jawa and not learning something new. Here on her coastal hill is found a rarely seen fungus called Tulostoma.

Its leathery basidiocarp is shaped like a miniature durian a centimeter in diameter and borne on a stalk. Because of this unique feature, it is commonly called a Stalked Puffball.

The immature basidiocarps are brown, woody and inconspicuous.

It makes me wonder if Tulostoma (as rigid as it appears) disperses its spores in the same explosive way as other puffballs do, and whether the wild boars whose presence on the coastal hill is so evident smell them out and snack on them.

There is truly no end to wonderment in Chek Jawa, I must say. You are ten thousandfold more likely to drown in wonderment than from any mishap in the seas here. [ha ha]

And if I may invite you to pause a moment to imagine Tulostoma's mycelia - those invisible masses of fungal threads that bind and effect life in the good earth - maybe we might just allow Chek Jawa to expand our thoughts into her invisible and infinite embodiment of cells - of all her plants, animals, protists, bacteria as well as fungi - and imagine relationships upon relationships beyond the phenotype to the molecular, the genes and the proteins... we might just see the common Thread of Life we share so intrinsically and how inseparable we humans are even to the inorganic minerals found in the rocks of Chek Jawa, dissolved in the seas and falling from the sky.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Calophyllum pulcherrimum: Additions to the Flora of Keppel Island

She is indeed a double beauty - beautiful, most beautiful. Calophyllum pulcherrimum derives her name from Greek Kalos - beautiful, and Latin pulcherrimum - most beautiful.

Last week, she set off a most spectacular firework of creamy white flowers shooting in all directions from her lofty perch atop the small hillock at Keppel Island. I could not have asked for a better start to my second flora survey of the island.

There was only one leaf at the foothill but I found it. A fine-veined somewhat glossy leaf a-glimmering in the light. It was as if cast down like a delicate silk handkerchief to snare my attention and say, "Hey Joe, I am here above. Look. Don't miss me out in your census ok".

I present you thus a list of additions (including Miss Beautiful-Most Beautiful) to the Flora of Keppel Island below.

Additions to the Flora of Keppel Island
Arthrophyllum diversifolium
Asystasia nemorum
Calophyllum pulcherrimum
Caryota mitis
Cissus hastata
Clidemia hirta
Cocos nucifera
Crinum asiatica
Dendrophthoe pentandra
Dicranopteris linearis
Dillenia suffructicosa
Elaeis guineensis
Fibraurea tinctoria
Ficus microcarpa
Lygodium circinnatum
Lygodium microphyllum
Mikania micrantha
Nephrolepis biserrata
Pandanus odoratissimus
Passiflora laurifolia
Ptychosperma macarthurii
Spathodea campanulata
Syzygium campanulatum
Taenitis blechnoides
Triphasia trifolia
Vitex pinnata