Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day 2013 - Flowers from Mother Earth

In conjunction with Earth Day 2013, let me show you two flowers (or rather inflorescence) from two very common plant in Malaysia. Though these plants are very common in our gardens, they are not native to the Malesia region and are rarely seen in flower.

Dracaena sanderiana - Sander's Draceana
The first one is the Ribbon Plant aka Lucky Bamboo aka Guan Yin Bamboo. This plant, scientifically known as Dracaena sanderiana, is neither a bamboo nor is it a native to Asia. This plant is actually native to Cameroon in tropical Africa! With various cultivars that have lovely leaf variegation, this plant is a hot seller during Chinese New Year, especially those twisted into various shapes or arranged into tiers. Like the more common Dracaena surculosa (sometimes called Japanese Bamboo), the flowers are whitish-green and opens at night, only to wither the next morning.
The buds on the inflorescence of the Ribbon Plant (Dracaena sanderiana). This is the plain-leafed type. The stems are slightly over six feet in height.

The flowers are scented, and probably smell a little 'weird' like those of Dracaena surculosa. The photos of the flowering Draceana sanderiana was taken off a clump that was planted inside the Guan Yin Temple beside KLCC (Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery). I was there on Guan Yin's Birthday celebration day and noticed that the clump had inflorescence on the taller stems.
A closer look at one of the inflorescence of Dracaena sanderiana. The green arrows point to withered flowers whilst the blue arrow is pointing at a stigma from the withered bloom.

The flowers unfortunately had all withered as it was past midday. As I didn't had a chance of dropping by at night, I didn't managed to capture the open blooms. However, from the withered flowers, one can still see the stigma and stamens.

Beaucarnea (syn. Nolina) recurvata - Ponytail palm / Elephant's Foot
The next plant is the ponytail palm aka elephant foot plant. Again the common name of this plant is a misnomers, for it is not a palm but more related to the Agave, Asparagus and Sansevieria. Formerly known as Nolina, but now placed into Beaucarnea, these caudiciform plants are very popular as 'feng shui' lucky plants in Malaysia. The plant featured here looks like a Beaucarnea recurvata or possibly B. gracilis and it is growing on a little patch of soil by the driveway, along the road leading to Kelab Darul Ehsan in Taman TAR, Ampang.
A flowering Beaucarnea (possibly B. recurvata). Undilah parti pokok Beaucarnea...the flower stalk vying for attention with the various political party flags that lined the road. 

The nice middle-aged lady that owns the plant told me that the plant was left by the house's previous owner, and that she had cared for it for many years. She hadn't noticed the flower stalk until she was informed by passers-by. The inflorescence was light green in colour when it was emerging, but now has taken on yellowish-cream tones as most of the flowers had bloomed and withered away.
Inflorescence of Beaucarnea, with yellowish white flowers that attracts a lot of little bees. 

Finally here's a message from a friendly inhabitant of planet Earth (pictured below)... Please take care of the Earth, for you share it with others, and only borrowed it from your children and our children. PS - Buy me a bunch of bananas please
Haven't you seen a monkey in a basket?? Like Jack-in a box, Genie in a bottle...No???