Sunday, November 30, 2014

Seen in MAHA 2014 - Moris Gajah Pineapple

At the Pineapple Showcase grounds in MAHA 2014 at MAEPS Serdang, one of the pineapple that was planted along the paths to the information center was an eye-catching, humongous pineapple. Some of these pineapples also have abnormal double or fused crowns. The plant immediately reminded me of a little Agave plant, with a large fruit sticking out on top.
Huge pineapples - wonder if they had been on steroids...

After looking around for the plant labels, I finally found one staked next to one of these pineapple plants. They were Moris Gajah (literally Elephant Moris) pineapples. They basically look like a large varietal form (the on steroid version) of the more commonly found Moris pineapple.
Moris Gajah - Elephant Moris pineapple. Everything seems to be big for this cultivar, the leaves, the fruit, the crown and even the thorns.

The wild, not so interesting ancestors of our modern day pineapples are native to Southern Brazil and Paraguay. They were apparently domesticated by the natives there and spread northwards to South Central America and the West Indies. From there the Spaniards spread it to the Philippines. Then it spread to India through the Portuguese and onward to Europe, China and the rest of the world.

Today, various cultivars of pineapple exist in the world, but they can be group into four main groups or classes - Smooth Cayenne', 'Red Spanish', 'Queen', and 'Abacaxi'.

Moris pineapple (also know as Mauritius or Malacca Queen) belongs to the Queen group of pineapples. The fruits are typically pyramidal and tapering to the top, and are commonly used as fresh fruit over here in Malaysia. Fruits usually weight between 800gms to 2.0 kg, and are crisp and have sugar content of 12%-14% Brix.

The Moris Gajah is similar to the Moris pineapple in terms of the sugar content, but differs in the individual weight of the fruits - they can weigh a hefty 3kg to 6kg per fruit! Imagine how many slices of pineapple you can get from a single, 6kg fruit!
Characteristics of Moris Gajah pineapple - note the fruit weight (from cultivar brochure published by MOA - Malaysian Pineapple Board).

One downside of this cultivar is of course the thorns. Moris pineapples (or rather most of the pineapples in the Queen group) have thorny leaves, but boy do the Moris Gajah pineapples have thorns. They are sharp, big and form a complete row on each side of the leaf blade, very much like a saw blade.

Love the double crowns on top of this Moris Gajah pineapple. Imagine tying some red ribbons around it and presto - Chinese New Year decorative plant!

Despite the thorns, I could see that this pineapple also has a decorative potential, if you have the space for it. They look like a miniature Agave plant, and with the huge fruit sitting on top, they definitely will be a good showcase or accent plant in a spacious garden.

Friday, November 28, 2014

MAHA 2014 - Big... Hot.. and Wet...

The Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism Show (MAHA) 2014 is back again. There just two more days before the show ends on 30th Nov 2014. As usual, there isn't much info available on the net, so here's a little guide for those who still want to go and not get flustered with the trip.

If you wish to buy plants, fresh fruits or visit the main exhibition halls, then it is best to park at Entrance 1. They provide shuttle service at the entrance of each of the parking lots (some can be far away) to the entrance (called Laman Tiba 1). Then the rest are within walking distance.

If you still want to visit the other exhibits, do take the tram around or use the bus to go to Laman Tiba 2 (Entrance 2).

Things close to Laman 1: Fruit Bazaar, Flower and plants Bazaar, Exhibition Halls A,C, and D

School terrarium competition
Farm produce competition
Lovely Phalaenopsis orchids at MAHA 2014
Tolumnia in the Orchid competition at Hall A
Air plants, orchids, Adeniums etc are all available.
Fishbone cacti for sale
Figs - Horai, BTM6 etc for sale (not sooo cheap though)
The crowd at MAHA 2014

Now if you want to look at farm animals, cows, goats, chickens, quails, rabbits and sugargliders, then it is easier to park and enter through Entrance 2 (Laman Tiba 2). All these will be within walking distance. There are a few stalls selling plants and fruits, but the bulk are at Laman Tiba 1.

Things close to Laman Tiba 2: Pet cows, goats, and rabbits. See and buy farm equipments, learn about bird's nest farming.
The Jamnapari goat loves to be scratched hard. Eh, mcm kenal je muka budak lelaki tu dgn mak nyer, hehehe.
She likes to be scratched as well, and very friendly.
Cute chicks... yeah, literally cute chicks.

If you wish to see the Laman Padi (Paddy Field), Laman Nenas (Pineapple Field), Laman Perikanan (Fisheries exhibit - I would recommend this one), then it doesn't really matter which entrance you come in through, you would still need to take the tram or a combination of bus and tram.
Jellyfish display at Fisheries Exhibition area.

For those dependent on public transport, do not fret for there is a free shuttle service to and from KTM Komuter train station in Serdang. The opening hours for the weekend is from 9am to 12midnight. Do remember to bring an umbrella, as it is either hot, wet or very confusing to first time visitors.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

White sicilian fig

I finally get to taste the White Sicilian (Sant Antonio) fig that I planted early this year. Figs can be grown in pots and will bear fruit, but one must ensure that drainage is good, and more importantly, the plants are well-fed. On the other hand, you must also watch out for water stress, especially when the tree has fruits as wilting and water stress will cause the tree to abort the developing fruits.

I got this tree as a small plant from a friend that had bought cuttings from the internet on ebay. It grew as a straight bole plant, and towards the end July, had formed six synconia. Alas, I discovered that four of the fruits went missing when I got back from holidays. I can only assume that some birds were lucky when I was away and had made good of the ripe fruits, since no aborted fruits could be found in the vicinity of the potted plant.
The unripe fruit reaching maturity and turning a pale green colour.
The white Sicilian Sant Antonio fig taking a strong yellow colour and being heavy, takes on a nodding position.

So keeping the fifth fruit under my watchful eyes, I decided to pick it today as it had turned a strong yellow colour and the fruit nodded a little. Even so, I had picked it a little too early as the stem were still strongly attached and the fruit was only 3/4 soft. Well, better early than being eaten by birds.
Fruit showing the amber and pinkish pulp. It is the pulp that is really sweet.
A closer shot of the fruit showing the juicy pulp.

The fruit changes from green to pale green - white to a strong yellow colour as the fruit matures and ripens. Also the fruit will start to nod and feels soft when pressed. When cut, the fruit has pale yellow flesh and dark amber with pinkish centre pulp. It has a strong papaya taste and is reasonably sweet. Overall, it tasted so much better than commercially imported, fresh Turkish figs that tasted like soap to me. Now to get the other figs to bear fruit. The current wet and hot spell has been wrecking havoc on their leaves and also the roots as the soil soaks up too much moisture.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ampang Nine Emperor Gods Festival 2014

If you are looking for 2015's  Nine Emperor Gods Festival dates and blog entries, do click on this post "Coming Up... Nine Emperor Gods Festival 2015". Else do continue to view the timelapse video at the bottom of the post before heading on to this year's event. Cheers.

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is on again this time of the year. The festival starts in the eve of the ninth month of the Chinese calendar (23 Sept 2014) with the raising of the flagpole, followed by nine days of prayers, vegetarian diet and purification ceremonies.
The Nine Emperor Gods Temple in Ampang before the start of the festivities.

This year, I am unable to cover the festival in Ampang due to travel plans. For those who are around, do go and have a look, especially on the evening of the eve where they invite the Nine Emperor Gods to the temple, and on the evening of the second day (25th Sept) where they invite the Finance minister to the temple. The usual list of events are as follows:

  • Eve of festival - 23 Sept 2014    -  Lantern pole raising and invitation of Nine Emperor Gods
  • Day 1 - 24 Sept 2014
  • Day 2 - 25 Sept 2014 - Invitation of Finance Minister
  • Day 3 - 26 Sept 2014
  • Day 4 - 27 Sept 2014
  • Day 5 - 28 Sept 2014
  • Day 6 - 29 Sept 2014
  • Day 7 - 30 Sept 2014
  • Day 8 - 1 Oct 2014     - Bridge crossing ceremony
  • Day 9 - 2 Oct 2014     - Fire walking ceremony

To read more about the festival and follow it, do visit Cheryl Hoffmann's site about the festival, where you can obtain a lot of information about the festival and enjoy her lovely photos. As a preview, here is a mash up of some timelapse that we did last year, which needs a lot of work done on it. To all my friends going to the festival, take lots of photos and enjoy!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Malaysian Orchid of the Day - Renanthera elongata

Renanthera elongata - Tree on Fire orchid

This is the same plant that I have blogged previously in this article. Currently it is growing well with three leads. Only the one that had overgrown the support tree has produced inflorescence.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Merdeka Post - FRIM Kepong Botanical Garden

Last Friday we were lucky to get a 'guided tour' by a Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) staff to visit a few of their nurseries and the Kepong Botanical Garden, which is currently under FRIM's jurisdiction. The visit was an eye opener to the rich biodiversity treasure that we have in our forest, and to hear of how these treasures were threatened by development and ignorance was sad indeed, especially when our nation will be celebrating her 57th birthday.
Crown shyness exhibited by Dryobalanops aromatica (Kapur trees) at FRIM. The forest floor was littered with their germinating seeds, which also smelled like camphor.

So here's some photos of the plants, trees and interesting stuff that kept our cameras occupied and our brain working hard.
Zingiber spectabile - one of the showy true gingers of our rainforest. I nicknamed this 'Ladies Delight' as the ladies in our group were going ooohs and aaaahs over it. Not too sure if it was the length, shape or colour that got them so excited about it.
Begonia rajah in the nursery. Our native begonias do have a lot of potential as showy garden plants
Alpinia mutica flowers - there's a bee in one of the flowers.
Nelumbo nucifera from one of the ponds in Kepong Botanical Garden
Another pretty lotus bloom that caught my eye.
Love the yellow stamens of the sacred lotus.
An interesting ginger inflorescence and bloom. Love the way the inflorescence spirals around the central axis.
Shimmering blue Selaginella sp.
Another shot of the shimmering blue Selaginella sp.
Dianella ensifolia (Siak-siak). The fruits are a striking blue colour.
Looking for Smurfs, but found none... Toadstools were sprouting everywhere.
Peliosanthes teta - Derhaka mertua. It is a medicinal herb.
Calanthe ceciliae blooms. Someone says that it looks like a dog, specifically, like Patrick the dog, lol.
Seeds of the Kapur trees (Dryobalanops aromatica) cover the forest floor, and most of them were germinating.
Seedpod of Grammatophyllum speciosum (Tiger orchid) with the petals and sepals still intact.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lets go to Floria 2014 - Part 2

Here are a few more pics from Floria 2014 and Magic of the Night 2014. Remember that the two events are now at two distinct and separate location, and hence the need to move from one site to the other. For Floria, the site is hot and sunny, as mentioned in my previous post, so go armed with umbrellas and caps. Or come in the morning or later in the evening (hint - sunset is lovely).
Flower pinwheel spinning in the sun
Tag says Paphiopedilum curtisii.
Rhyncholaeliocattleya Memoria Helen Brown
Wedding bouquet arrangement
Indoor pavilion display.
Vanda lamellata x Vanda Muang Thong
Vanda Pat Delight x Vanda Guo Chia Long
Sunset at Putrajaya

You can also seek refuge in the air-conmditioned indoor pavilion and the school flower arrangement area (cooler air-conditioning).

For Magic of the Night, you can see the fireworks from Seri Gemilang Bridge or from the grandstand of the Kompleks Sukan Air Putrajaya. However, the floats will be quite a distance away. To see the floats up close, either go to the public viewing area for Magic of the Night or the areas marked with red arrows just down from the Marina Putrajaya. Fireworks are only on the 14th, 20th, 21st and 22nd of June.
The Magic of the Night is now at Marina Putrajaya, which is quite a distance away from the Floria site, and the floats DO NOT go past the Floria site.
Perbadanan Putrajaya
Johor and the tiger...
The float from Penang, styled after a dragon boat (and spouts water too).
This is taken from the green arrow area in the map. The fireworks are partly blocked by the Pullman Lakeside Hotel.
Fireworks from the public viewing area.

More photos to come....