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Thursday, 23 May 2019
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Volume 10
VOLUME 10
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Cover Story

Musa Species and Related Plants

 

ImageBananas or scientifically known as Musa species belonging to the family Musaceae are known to originate from Southeast Asia and wild bananas can still be found in Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The genus name Musa commemorates the Roman physician Antonius Musa.

Sometimes in mid 18th century, Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish medical professor turned Botanist named the cooking banana or plantain as Musa paradisiaca L and the dessert banana as Musa sapientum L. These names were used for almost two centuries until later when various cultivars or varieties were produced which deviated from the typical plantains and dessert bananas in their morphological characteristics. Due to the complications caused by these variations, a new classification system was recommended and it was concluded that the edible bananas originated from two wild bananas with seeds, that is, Musa acuminata Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla endemic to Southeast Asia. A mixture of natural selection and cross breeding involving these two species of bananas gave rise to the many cultivars or varieties of edible bananas of today. From Southeast Asia bananas were brought to India, east Africa and the islands of the Pacific and today banana is one of the world’s important food crops.

Feature Garden

A Collector's Garden

 

ImageWhen I assigned the photographer to Puan Juriah’s house to take pictures of her garden I was guilty of not telling him that there is no theme to look out for the garden. It is a garden with plants that fascinate me! And the lady collects begonias.

Having to direct the reshoot, to ensure that we do not miss the ambience of the garden, feel the harmony in the little ecosystem that the plants have created was a good excuse to return to Juriah’s house. Apart from the excellent tea she served, I enjoyed discussing with her pure gardening, with tips on how to keep your plants ‘happy’ in the garden.

The plot for the single detached house in Kepong in the vicinity of the Forest Reserve Institute Malaysia, is not very large and the house occupy most of the land. However, our lady gardener has made full use of her available space and she has landscaped the road reserve as well. The African daisies growing out there are in bloom, adding cheerful colours to the surrounding greenery.

Garden Gallery

Kuala Lumpur Orchid Garden

 

ImageGrammatophyllum, Bulbophyllum, Paphiopedilum what frightful words! Ah…, but if you will allow me, I would like to take you up the hill where we can put some identity to these strange names. This hill, in the heart of the city of Kuala Lumpur, is the home of the largest family of flowering plants - the orchids whose many relatives are located all over the world. From the wild species to the current special hybrids, members of this family have spread to different parts of the world. Come and I will introduce you to a few more popular varieties living at the Orchid Garden on the hill so you won’t fight shy of the names they have adopted through their ‘cross marriages’. Shall we get started?

Here, at the Orchid Garden, many of the orchid members sit around busking in their glory while others perch on branches and tree trunks waiting to be admired and loved. Look over here, isn’t this flower beautiful? Look at the striking colours and size of the blooms. The largest member here has been commonly named "Tiger Orchid"- perhaps because of the coloration. Well, this is the Grammatophyllum. Over here is the native terrestrial orchid with its very prominent lips. These are the Bulbophyllum. Then there are the more common and numerous members with their voluptuous round flowers of various colours. These belong to the genus Vanda with Vanda Miss Joaquim as an example. Many other members will be looking forward to the days for relatives from all over the world to come together for a grand reunion at the 17th World Orchid Congress to be held on 24th April – 2nd May 2002 at the Mines International Exhibition Centre. Imagine what a show that will be!!!

Young Gardener

Inspiration from Nature - What inspires you?

 

ImageFrom the mighty red wood trees in America to the smallest worker ants in the tropics, nature and its splendor has inspired and taught us amazing things. Nature has brought to us ideas that have changed our way of life; let’s face it, if it were not for that apple that fell on Newton’s head, we would still not know what gravity was. Nature has also stirred the souls of artists to create masterpieces such as the wildlife paintings by Janet N. Heaton:

Garden Science

Guide To Flowering Potted Plants

 

ImageLantana
Lantana is a very popular bedding plant here and they are very easy to care for. There are now many colours to chose from and can be free flowering.

Care: When in bloom they are striking but after the blooms have dropped the stems and leaves look straggly so they should be cut back and pruned to encourage new growth. Propagation is through seeds or stem cutting.

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