Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Pacific Islander in Bintulu

The above is  a long shot view ( LS) of the Sukun tree ( Artocarpus communis Forst. or sometimes referred to as Artocarpus altilis) . Originated from the Pacific Islands, it has now become a popular plant found  in the gardens and farms of rural Bintulu.  The tree can reach 30 meters. The leaves are wide i.e. around 20 -30 cm and about 30-60cm long.

These breadfruits are large, has thick skin and mainly cooked when they are semi-ripe as fritters,smoked or prepared with coconut milk as vegetables. There are of course many other ways how the fruits are cooked or prepared depending from which tropical area you come from.  The fruits are non-seasonal and therefore can be available all year round in Bintulu. Depending on size each fruit can fetch a price of between RM 3- RM5 at the local Tamu or jungle produce market.  The sukun fruits are seedless and therefore are propagated through root cuttings or marcots. The fruits are ovalish and cylinderical and the diameter can be between 10-30cm . It is believed that by drinking water from the boiled leaves can reduce high blood pressure and relieve asthma.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Colourful Jungle Sprouts

I was out early this morning walking through the jungle tracks at my farm and found these colourful leaves sprouting out from the jungle floor. The one above are suggestive gestures of a dance like movement.

The dark purple oval young leaves of the forest climber above has just sprouted and soon will begin to find support to climb up the jungle canopy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Red-fleshed seeds of Dillenia

The Shrubby Dillenia ( Dillenia suffruticosa) which is locally known as 'Simpoh Air' has fruits when split open exposes the red-fleshed seeds that are a real treat for the birds here.

Angsana Trees Flowering in Bintulu

The Angsana trees are in flowering mode right now in Bintulu. Bintulu has a total stretch of 25 kilometers of these huge ,compact and spreading canopies of lush green leaves since they were planted some 25 years ago, in a bid to catch up with the fever of urban landscaping comparable with major towns like Kuching (then but now a city). Angsana flowers are fragrant, bright yellow in colour and last only a day, after which they fall off to the ground leaving a carpet mass of yellow flowers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

'Tipuk' Fruits are in Season

These are images of the local fruit called 'Tipuk' by the Bintulu Melanaus or 'Panyun' by the Ibans. They belong to the Zingiberaceae family ( Ginger family) and of the Hornstedia species. I took these pictures while doing my weekend shopping at the local jungle produce market we call 'Tamu' in Bintulu last Sunday. These fruits have a sweet sour taste and are eaten raw. The contents of the small bowl (in white) is sold at One Ringgit Malaysia.

Flowers of the Ironwood Tree

The locals call it 'Penanga' and refers to the Ironwood Tree ( Mesua ferrea) which produces these attractive medium sized white petals and bright yellow stamens. They normally flower twice a year in Bintulu.

White Ginger Lily

I made a cutting of this flower spike of the local White Ginger Lily ( Hedychium coronarium) this morning and had it placed in my living room. Instantly the whole room was perfumed with the sweetest of smell. Who needs room refreshers?

Wild Banana Inflorescence

A close up view of the inflorescence of a wild banana plant , locally called 'Pisang Lengki'( Musa hirta) by the Ibans is seen at my garden. For the local Ibans, this flower spike can be smoked and eaten raw as salad.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Indian 'Goa Tree' flowering in Bintulu

Goa Tree
Yesterday ( 17/7) while paying a visit to the wood factory at Bintulu town, I passed this flowering Goa Tree. Situated along the main highway into the Bintulu Town proper, just a few meters away from Ngiu Kee Supermarket , this Goa Tree ( well, you reckon the trees must have flourished in Goa, India and then brought over to this part of the world) was about its mature height i.e. 10- 15 m high. The flowers are small and purplish. In Bintulu it is grown as a roadside tree on residential roads and aterial and sub-arterial town roads. Good for shade and specimen planting, too. Its column of leaves are typically round in shape though when it gets slightly older the crown may look spreading. After the flowering season is over, the tree will bear fruits that are like almond- shaped ( like our local ' kedundong' fruit ( Otaheite or ambarella). Fruits of our local kedundong are edible but not the Goa Tree fruits. As a roadside tree, due to its height and spreading nature, it is best to plant them at a planting distance of 40 meters. Oh, ya just for the record, some people call this tree, the cabbage tree.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Grape Fruits Ripening in Bintulu

Today I was spending a short afternoon rest at the Tanjung Batu shoreline. Much to my delight I noticed this Sea Grape tree ( Coccoloba uvifera) fruiting and on some branches the fruits were ripe in purple colours.

Sea Grapes are a tropical tree that does well along coasts, well drained soil and in full sun. Note the almost circular shape of the leaves ( about 20 - 30 cm long.

The ripe fruits are edible. I have tried to propagate them previously by seeds and I found that the germination rate was about 70 %. Presently I do have a healthy specimen grown at my eco-farm.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sea Hibiscus

At the beach along the coastline of the Kidurong Township one can see rows and sometimes big groupings of the sea hibiscus ( Hibiscus tiliaceus) This species of the hibiscus is native to Malaysia and grows abundantly along seashores and beaches of Bintulu. The flowers are bright yellow with large crimson centers, turning orange when they fade. The leaves are large and heart-shaped.

Fishing Boats of Bintulu

I was passing the beach area in front of the Kidurong Township today. In the calm waters of the man-made bay are parked colourful fishing boats belonging mainly to part-time fishermen . Most of the fishermen bring their boats up to ten kilometers offshore to fish in their free time because most of them are employed by the big companies or organisations at Kidurong Industrial Zone, some 12 kilometers away ( by road).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pukul Lima ( Samanea saman)

True to its name, the leaflets of this Rain Tree (Samanea saman) close up at late afternoon or evening or in heavy rain. While parking my car this afternoon around 5.30 pm at Medan Jaya next to Farley Supermarket, I saw a branch that was drooping close to where my car was parked. A good modelling candidate. The flowers of the Rain Tree are pink and white and aren't that significant or showy. Therefore I was fortunate to get a good close look at it this afternoon and took this shot with my camera hand phone N93i . Rain trees are imported into Malaysia and they can reach a maximum of about 30 meters high. In Bintulu they are planted at car parks, big avenues or in open space or parks areas as specimen planting. I like it on the account of its shade, wide spreading canopy and its generosity in accommodating epiphytes on its older branches.