Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Piriqueta racemosa - a new weed in Ubin

Piriqueta racemosa (Family Turneraceae) is a native from the West Indies and a new arrival of a weed discovered by my good old pal and partner-in-plant Ali Ibrahim. He found a cluster of this hairy tall herb growing along the perimeter fence of the former Celestial Resort not too long ago.

I must say that the process of identifying it has been exceedingly fun and stimulating and all the more rewarding as it is so 'alien'. The journey with the mind went much much further than half a world away. Like I always say, the mind is bigger than the universe. I think I have been there and back again.

May we present you Piriqueta racemosa. A beautiful name, isn't it? : ) Enjoy the images below.

Fruit: 3-valved capsule and pitted curved seeds.
Common English name of the herb: Rigid Stripeseed.
Opened yellow flowers
Hairy calyx
Flowers and fruits spirally arranged.
Peduncle long and slender.
Stem round slender and bristly (hispid).
The stiff long hairs is reflected in one of the
synonym - Turnera hispidissima.
Annual herb about 35 -50cm tall. Leaves sweet
smelling when crushed.
Leaf upper surface bristly glandular. 
Leaf underside velvety; margin crenulate.
Found in Pulau Ubin, 2012
"Long ago introduced into the Bogor Botanical
Gardens, since long naturalized in the region
between Djakarta and Bogor." (Van Steenis, 1948)
Britton and Wilson (1924), p 598; Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands; N.Y. Academy of Sciences 5(4).
Van Steenis, C.G.G.J. et al (1948), pp 4:235-236; Flora Malesiana, Series I. Noordhoff-Kolff, Djakarta, 1948-1954, 14 volumes.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Man behind Syzygium ngadimanianum

I take particular pleasure in highlighting a tree I recently found in MacRitchie which bears the name of the first forest ranger of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. His name is Ngadiman and the tree is Syzygium ngadimanianum - a relatively rare jumbol tree of the rain forest of Singapore and Malaysia.

Leaves and fruits of Syzygium ngadimanianum

Ngadiman was first to discover the tree in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in 1939. His two botanical collections of the tree provided H.R. Henderson type material to describe and publish the species as Eugenia ngadimaniana in his honour in 1947. It was subsequently revised as Syzygium ngadimanianum by I.M. Turner in 2007.

Ngadiman was first and foremost an invaluable plant collector and assistant to the likes of Corner and Henderson. He was primarily responsible for training Corner's famous monkeys to collect herbarium specimens of the forest trees. His fascinating career can be found in his biography linked here.

In his memory, I like to share with you some photos of the tree and its fruits and leaves, and also an old photo of the bridge which bore his name - Ngadiman Bridge - a concrete bridge spanning a small gully along the now defunct Tiup Tiup Trail of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Syzygium ngadimanianum, MacRitchie 2012
Smooth cracked bark
Close-up of green oblong fruit with tiny incurved calyx
Ngadiman Bridge (Tiup Tiup Trail, BTNR)