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.