Friday, June 13, 2014

Alocasia macroorrhizos - Giant Elephant Ears

Alocasia macroorrhizos, (Upright Elephant Ears, Giant Taro, Wild Taro) is a stunning plant that can be found growing by roadsides and in jungles, more often next to jungle streams.  Its should be watered well especially in hot weather and as the plant grows larger. However, too much water will rot the tuber. To avoid this, well draining soil is imperative. 

When planted in the ground and fed regularly with organic fertilisers, it will easily grow up to ten feet high.  If grown in a container, it will not reach its full potential, unless the pot is very large. Over time, it will develop a tree-like stem. Offsets (plantlets) are produced from mature plants. These baby Alocasias can then be easily transplanted.

It can be planted in either sun or in shade. The plants here grow in full sun together with the Bougainvilleas.

A leaf bud unfurled over about three to four days from ... 

... the stalks of older leaves.
When the leaf first make its way out, it is held stiffly upwards, with prominent veining on the underside of the leaves. The large emerald green leaves are glossy and can measure up to three feet long.  

Over time, the leaves bend over.

On the underside of the large leaves, insects abound.
A pair of ladybugs huddled together for some coziness.

Close-ups of the playful pair.

I was curious about a whitish film until I saw this many legged arachnid and immediately identified as a tiny spider.

This is the elaborate web strung up by this little fella to trap unsuspecting and unfortunates critters.

Tiny larvae moving away from the nest to make it on their own.

The young spathe standing tall and erect in its sheath.

An autumnal-looking leaf is a sure sign that it had reached its golden years 

An elegant looking fly with a blue iridescent coat was deeply attracted to the golden colouring.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Neomarica longifolia - Yellow Walking Iris

Neomarica longifolia have yellow flowers with mottled brown markings. It can be propagated by rhizomes or from the offsets formed from the flowering stem. It can be planted in partial shade, but for showy blooms, it is best to locate under full sun.

The leaves are sword like and upright and can extend up to 2-3 feet.

Fully extended petals  

The centre is mottled with brown markings.

At the end of the day, the petal closes and drop off the next day. Each flower last only one day, but the following day, another one will takes its place, ensuring that the clump is always adorned with blooms.

When flowering is done, little plantlets "pups"developed next to the spent blooms. These can be harvested and planted elsewhere. 

If nothing is done about it, the flowering stem gets weighted down to the ground allowing the plantlets to get rooted and replant themselves. Over time, the clumps will continue in all directions, änd literally walked" to a new spot.
However when planted in a container, the "walking" will somehow be restrained. I started planting the pups not too long ago. Now here it is rewarding me with blooms.

The denuded petiole is one of the dragonflies' favourite holding post.

The purple and red Dawn dropwing dragonfly adds another layer of colours to the image.

Golden dragonflies are also commonly seen on the clumps. 

A Thunbergia Erecta flower is seen in the background.

The flower fly however prefer the leaf blade 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Clerodendrums Wallichi - The Bridal Veil

Clerodendrum Wallichi (The Bridal Veil) is a shrub that can reach up to 7 ft in height.  It has narrow shiny leaves of up to 5 to 6 inches long. Blooming is year round in the tropics. It can easily be propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings.

The white flowers cascade down in pendulous panicles.

Delicate buds about to pop anytime.

The young panicle with developing green buds.

The mature panicle with fully developed terminal blooms. 

The petals flare out from a narrow tube. Stamens and style protrude out. 

 My domestic helper keeps the plants in great shape with routine watering, pruning, fertilizing and checking out for pests.

A panicle seen against a background of Bougainvilleas.

The sprawling flowers of B. Mrs Eva.


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