Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Plumbago rosea

While most of you, my dear blogger friends, are still experiencing the colds of winter or remnants of winter, we here in the hot tropics are at the transition for the coming dry season. That means we are already savoring the lingering slight cold winds, because in 2-3 weeks it will be hot, hot and hot till we get to the upper 30°C. We will then be soaked in sweat or suffer heat stroke if we linger outside the buildings under the blazing sun!

To alleviate your cold, i will inject a warm color, or actually a hot color. I will show you one of our red flowers, the reds being our common color in the tropics. This is the Plumbago rosea synonymous with P. indica. It has a habit different from the common blue Plumbago auriculata. It has long stems that produce the flowers at the end.

 Look at the base of the flower, it has some protrusions that i don't know the purpose for! If those are the anthers containing the pollens, the distance explains the reason i haven't seen any pod yet.

 Or probably they protect the most important part of the reproductive system, the developing embryo, which is inside that portion of the flower. An insect will have difficult time in trying to penetrate those barriers.

These show the unruly, entangled stems with the flowers. The stems are so long tending to bend and mix with all other stems near it. 

If the stem can only be held straight, they are so beautiful in these arrangements. Unfortunately, the vaselife is only for 1-2 days, the old flowers dehisce and new ones open, giving way to a very colorful succession. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Miniature Rubies

Red color is dominant in our hot tropical climate. It is a predominant color of flowers as well. This fruit is a berry courtesy of the Dracaena surculosa. It flowers at the start of the dry season, or probably when the days start to lengthen again. Another theory is that flowering can be triggered by the lower temperatures in January, i am not sure because nobody seems to be studying its flowering induction.

The berries are born in umbels, but dry soil doesn't permit our plant to produce more fruits. One berry per umbel is common. Its diameter is less than one cm. It would be very lovely if many berries will grow per umbel resembling fireballs. However, our dry soil doesn't permit them to produce that much fruit. I also am not sure if they are eaten by birds or chickens as i haven't seen any of them eating one. Our chickens are free range and a bit deprived of food, so they will not spare the red berries if they are not poison. 
These are the green berries of the Dracaena surculosa.

They look like open lipsticks, do you agree. That can be the basis why some Dischidias are called lipstick plants. The flower is about 2mm in length excluding the peduncle. I got the plant from the wild thicket portion of our property in the province. I was so happy because the leaves and habit look like hoyas. As a hoya addict, i am ecstatic for its blooming. I was a bit unsure thought because i can't seem to see old peduncles where flowers arise. Then these red buttons confirmed my suspicion, it is a Dischidia parasitica, endemic to the Philippines. I posted it on Facebook groups for identification, and there are already a few who asked for planting materials. Maybe they are the Dischidia addicts, which i am not a part of!...just yet!

This is the old stem from the forest, which flowered 3 months from cutting. The leaves are boat-like and almost 2 inches in lenght. I brushed the old dirt on some leaves, but this one flowered ahead of them. I guess brushing stressed them a bit delaying flowering. That is a bit contrary to the mechanism of flowering though! Anyway, they are very nice in hanging baskets.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

An Afternoon's Sky Drama!

Weekends in my condominium unit is not at all boring. I have always been waiting for my afternoon shows! There are some days when they don't show up, but most of the time there are surprises that I really don't expect.  These are some photos that transpired a few minutes that Sunday afternoon. I tell you, they keep me contented the whole weekend. If they happened for two consecutive afternoons, the more i feel so blessed.

I hope you agree with me.

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