Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Strophantus gratus - Rose Allamanda

This is a liana which I have trimmed to a shrub form. The flowers of this vine are bell-shaped (campanulate) with the petals splayed out flat from the tubular section.

Ten deep pink fingerlike projections extend from the flower center.

The pastel pink flowers have a mild pleasant fragrance.

After a few days, the pink hue fades while the finger-like projections turn burgundy or maroon. The pink throat turn to burgundy too.

Overtime, the flowers assume a light cream pallor, while the ten projections appear to be cafe au lait in colour.

Though the flower has passed its prime, but it still look majestically glorious with a crown-like structure in the centre.

The flowers are presented in a type of inflorescence called an umbel.

The flower petals just before unfurling appear thick and succulent.

The leaves are glossy and smooth and drip a watery milky sap if broken.

It is said that the its seeds are highly toxic and thus used extensively in the preparation of arrow poison by certain tribes.

The ten pink fingerlike projections that extend from the flower center is emulated in the design of my 'Mad Hatter' teapot.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Thorny Durian - A Contentious Fruit of Ambrosiac Offerings

The most heavenly durian (Durio zibethinus) that I had ever tasted is the 'Musang King' (Civet King). It is purportedly to be their preferred choice of durians for the civet cats. The pulp is creamy, sweet and simply melts in the mouth. The best part is the puny and flat seeds which means that there's lot more flesh to indulge in. Other favourite varieties include the hybrids; D24 and Ang Hae (Red Shrimp) with its red meat.

A segment of a  D24 durian fruit.

After we were done with the civet cats' prefered durian, we tackled this D24 durian with its sweet delicious meat. These durians were gifts from my neighbour, Mike who got it from his father's orchard.

 A roadside fruit stall along the long narrow road in Balik Pulau, Penang island.

Red hairy rambutans, purplish-black mangosteens tied up in bundles and thorny durians.

Different varieties of durians. Suspended at the back is the cempedak, a fruit quite similar to jackfruit but with softer pulp. Some people like them fried.

A photo taken of durian tree in Balik Pulau, Penang island.

We were in Sandakan, Sabah right after a heavy seafood dinner, when we saw this vendor selling durians and langsat on the street. We were curious about how the fruit in East Malaysia would taste like, so we bought some. The durians had to be consumed in the street as almost all hotels have a ban on bringing this odoriferous fruit into the rooms



I read these two articles in The Star and New Straits Times- it was actually quite hilarious. Just go to prove that the adage, "One man's meat is another man's poison" is absolutely true.

Japanese cucumbers, cherry tomatoes from Cameron Highlands and some red currants from America. I was so full from stuffing up with durians that I only had this salad served with 'chilly-sesame seeds-garlic' dressing for dinner.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wrightia antidysenterica - Stars of the Milky Way

Several years back, Wrightia antidysenterica 'Arctic Snow' were popular plants planted by the roadsides. They are low maintennance plants and bloom continuously from the terminals of branches. After a while they tend to be leggy and needs trimming to maintain a compact shape.

The five-petaled flowers are pure white with yellow centres.

From far, the flowers against the dark green foliage appear like a myriad of stars, thus is also known as 'Milky Way'. They are also known as 'Artic Snow' or 'Snowflakes'.

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In spite of its common monikers of 'Artic Snow' or 'Snowflakes', it can take the intense heat of the full tropical sunshine and still remain as fresh as ever. In the background are ...

the orange-yellow flowers of Bauhenia kockiana.

Suckers are commonly seen at the base of plants so clump division is the preferred and easier choice for propagation. Its pristine whiteness was showcased against ...

the pink and orange-pink Madagascar periwinkles in the background.

Wrightia antidysenterica is a favourite stomping ground for many insects. Flies, ants and spiders are frequent visitors.
Camouflage - the colours of this semi-transparent spider mimic that of the flower. 

This was planted in a small pot outside my kitchen window.
A sparrow getting ready to plunge into the container of Wrightia antidysenterica. I've no idea whta the attractiuon was.

   A sunbird perched high up on the stem to view the environment.

Prunings from various plants are dipped into vases, placed on the kitchen window sill instead of the garbage bag. They would later end up on the compost heap.


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