Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cock's Tiara for Hot, Loud and Proud

I've been looking for something brightly colored for Noel's Hot, Loud and Proud Meme. I thought of a neighbor's already a bit old cockscomb. Some parts of the comb are already discolored and the base of the compound flower stalk has already turned brown. I even scratched its base to get some seeds which are as small as Brassica seeds, e.g. msutard, lettuce.
These combs are nicer when they are just starting to expand, unlike this mature stage. I also include some comparison for you to see the etymology of the flower's name. 

Hahaha, i would like you to have some fun! Happy New Year.

For other Hot Loud and Proud posts please visit Noel's aplantfanatic site.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Batangas Bay, Philippines Skywatch Friday 24 Dec 2010

I woke up at 5:30 am, a bit cold at ~23C, others are still asleep because sunrise will still be at 6:15am. I walked for 5 min to reach this area which has less trees to openly see the Batangas Bay, Philippines. The sea is calm these days when the monsoon is from the Northeast.

I will show you the progression of the scenes as i viewed it in my viewfinder, and these photos are directly uploaded from the camera, with only resizing done.

At the horizon beyond this bay is the Batangas International Port

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Holiday Wish

Merry Christmas
and a
Prosperous New Year!

P.S.: I originally thought these are obviously Christmas lanterns, thanks to Donna of gardenwalkgardentalk, i was allerted to divert from Wordless Wednesday to describe this. Creativity in this part of the world made the abaca fibers colorful and transformed them into these colorful Christmas lanterns. Abaca plants (Musa textilis) is widely grown in Bicol Region in the Philippines where this could probably be just the trimmings. Abaca is the material made into the world famous Manila hemp. For those who don't know abaca fibers, they come from abaca plant, which looks like our normal banana. Abaca plants are planted for the fibers unlike the fruits from the bananas.

More Wordless Wednesday posts.

Monday, December 20, 2010

From the Unpopular Weeds to Very Popular Caladiums

Caladium is a very popular genus of the Aroid family, which includes the Alocasia, Colocasia, Xanthosema, or commonly called taro. Caladium species has been popular for the beautiful shapes, venations and variegations on the leaves, which has been done through years of breeding. There are 3 general leaf shapes as fancy, spade or strap; fancy are the widest and with 2 lobes at the base (e.g. photos below). The strap leaf is more elongated and devoid of the lobes. Spade is the shape in between.

I am sure most of us know this plant or has at one time been cultivating this in their gardens. It is a tropical plant whose hybrids already acclimatized with the temperate and subtropical zones. It is said that today the most chazed after hybrids are from Thailand, which developed the best characteristics wanted for Caladium. It turned out that through the years the Thailand Palace has been hybridizing this for their use, and just lately shared them with the world. Aside from the beautiful venations, spots, or colors, their hybrids have thick and shiny leaves, short petioles and produce more leaves in their generation before succumbing to dormancy or rest. These qualities make them more sought after in the market. I've just browsed on their hybrids and Caladium 'suvarnabhumi' is really very beautiful. Suvarnabhumi is an ancient name of Thailand and is also the name of its international airport. So the caladium hybrid namesake must carry the qualities of a prestigious name.

My caladiums are the old common varieties, left on its own, sometimes watered but mostly not. The photos here are the volunteers which just grow anywhere on the property. Sometimes they are even eaten by animals roaming around especially the goat's kids. But they thrive for several years now just left on the ground. Every rainy season they seem to be very happy.

Caladium tricolor

These are all from the fancy leaf types exemplified by the Caladium tricolor, maybe the oldest of them. But still it gives a garden a beautiful color mix.

This looks also special with those little white
patches at the center

This one has a nice leaf form. And it somehow showed 2 colors only.  I am not sure if this came from a C. tricolor. There is the C. bicolor too, but it is green with white spots. We also have that in the property, but i can't see its picture from my files.

But can anyone explain what happened to this one!!! The original leaves are the normal variegations as in above photo, but through time it showed this one, pinkish leathery leaf with only very thin green color at the margins. Maybe somehow, there was a gene for mutation. It is a phenomenon much sought after by ornamentalists, as certainly beautiful colorful mutations are beautiful too in gardens!

This fat larvae is not aware that he is trampling on a forbidden path. But it's survival of the fittest, so it must do its nature. We just contend with his remnants as another art form, "caterpillar art"!

Thai Caladium reference on growing and breeding instructions and beautiful photo gallery of their hybrids please visit


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Weeds other than grasses

I mentioned in the previous post that weeds are unwanted plants in the garden or in a plot of plants being tended. These include the grasses and the broadleaves, the former being monocots, while the latter being dicots. There are probably more dicot weeds scattered in the tropics than the monocots. And of course, their flowers are naturally more beautiful. A plant lover or a photographer cannot resist the temptation these broadleaf flowers offer. And the butterflies are also their frequent visitors.

Above looks like dandelion but i am not really sure of this. Dandelion has rounded head with yellow petals, but this one looks different. The two drooping unopened buds are immature flower heads, which just open with those white propagules when mature. One photo just called it local dandelion, meaning Philippine dandelion, which can be a misnomer. At the moment i will not call it anything. Meantime, I just want to show you its beauty here.

This is widely distributed in agricultural lands, but  this is still NOID

This blue lily-like flower is about only 1.5cm in diameter, isn't it lovely? I exhausted google,
I can't see a look-alike! Sorry about that. (Thanks to Kanak and Randy Emmitt for ID of this as swamp dayflower or Commelina spp.)

 Ruellia tuberosa.   The black pods at the right contain the seeds. Reference said it is host to at least 4 butterfly species, and is considered ornamental plant in some countries. However,
it is just a weed  so prolific on our sidewalks and marginal areas.

Urena lobata locally called kulotan (many synonyms and sci names).The tiny delicate pink flower is 1.5cm in diameter. Reference said it has many medicinal properties and antioxidants ( Reference)

Mimosa pudica (correct name: M diplotricha) locally known as 'makahiya' because it shows shyness or folds inward when touched or shaken. It is a creeping perennial vine with thorns on the stem, and very invasive here in the country.
Maybe Linnaeus named it 'pudica' because it is Latin for 'bashful' or 'shrinking'.

Ipomoea turbinata synonimous to I. muricata or moonflower vine. It is said to have
medicinal and food uses in China and Sri Lanka ( Reference)

Tridax procumbens

Invasive shrub which turn viny with deep roots and very difficult to control,
unless the parts under the soil is also removed.  It is Chromolaena odorata, or 'hagonoy' in local dialect.

These are the flowers of a wild species of Pachirrhizus, with beautiful purple pea-like structures.
 It is vigouously viny and covers other shorter species. The very young pods are eaten by
some northern regions of the Philippines. The edible common yambean or
jicama, locally known as 'singkamas' is the Pachirrhizus erosus.

Tithonia diversifolia. This is a shrub reaching 1-3 meters when fully grown and about 3 inches flower diameter.  A big patch of this plants in the contryside is a sight to behold, and will certainly lessen your travelling stresses on the road. The mountains in Baguio City is normally caped with these yellow blooms during the dry months. Its leaves and stems have strong botanical pesticidal properties.

I would like to post this in GBBD of Maydreams Garden as they are also blooming in the vicinity of my domestic garden, let's say they are blooming in the bigger country garden. The problem is when they enter my domestic garden!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let's Think of Grass

Someone reminded me the difference between a grass and a broadleaf! I somehow forgot that difference because in my mind i equated grass with weeds. We only have one local term for both grass and weeds "damo". In local term anything not planted or used as food is "damo". However, weeds are a big group, which include both monocots and dicots. But of course grasses are all monocots, and broadleaves are dicots. Monocots are those with parallel venations on the leaves, while dicots have netted venations. So our local term must have dileneated grass from weed.

Now i recall a simple tutorial on plants for our accountant friend, who is now a president of a big company. We have long discussions and examples to differentiate monocots from dicots, which include all the big ones like bamboo versus mango. You don't assume an accountant to remember monocots and dicots from her Biology class in high school, especially when that has been a few decades ago.

Now let's go back to grasses! I have spotted a few grass flowers lately, so thought of putting them together here. These are all grass weeds. Later, i will be putting the broadleaf weeds.

This is a typical grass, a weed growing on vacant lands as colonizers. They grow at least 2 meters high, but with white beautiful flower spikes. In the first photo, it is growing near a cemented roadside.
They are not very palatable as feeds, maybe because of sharp leaf edges.

The four photos above represent one grass. They are at least 2 ft in height. Animals like cattle, horses and goats also feed on them.

The 2 photos above are the same grass, the 2nd just a close-up of the flowers. They also grow tall like the 1st grass, but this one is shorter and have more colorful flowers. However, they have easily bending stalks. 

This is the same flower against the grey cloudy sky.

 The one above have very small flowers that my lens cannot give justice to its details.

This one is maybe the most hated, because they cling to clothes for dispersal. Not only that,
those clinging parts are so sharp and hard that they literally harm and scratch the skin. 

I would like to link this post to  Blooming Friday of Katarina's Roses and Stuff. That is just to provide my temperate country bloggers a BIG Difference, to titillate them that we in this part of the world don't have the Four Seasons. We only have a perennial Summer, with dry and wet months. And our vegetation is also perennially green with lots of loud colors, unless our dry season is so long that kills many plants.

Since these photos are really out in the wilderness and out of the confines of domestic gardens, maybe it is okay to post this in  Outdoor Wednesday courtesy of A Southern Daydreamer.Please visit other participants there.

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