Thursday, October 22, 2009

Identifying a palm tree

Apart from the Ptychosperma macarthurii (Macarthur palms), we have a couple of palms that are apparently somewhat uncommon, and I'm trying to identify them. They've grown to about 6-8 metres, and are in a clump like the Macarthur palm, though they don't bend outwards in the same way.
identify yellow palm malaysia

The closest I can find is Dypsis lutescens, but even there the trunk is not yellow enough.
identify yellow palm malaysia

I also got some photos of the flowers, which attract bees
palm flower bee
palm flower bee

and the fruit which is a deep purple
identify yellow palm fruit malaysia

Does anyone have any idea of what it is? Any help is welcome!

*Update 29/10/09*
Thanks to the commenter anthrome below, and to the helpful people at Palm Talk, our palm tree is confirmed as a Euterpe olearcea aka Acai, apparently the palm hearts and berries are edible too! Gonna have to try that some time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Philippine lawn grass seeding

Our lawn leaves much to be desired - initially it was laid down with 'Pearl grass', which was a bad idea; it did not survive well in the sun, and grew too slowly to recover from any setbacks. Eventually, the whole lawn became a vast sea of weeds.

So, we've laid down patches of Philippine lawn grass - it grows quite fast, is hardy, and looks quite OK.
zoysia matrella malaysia

It's done all right, spreading slowly. And now it is seeding
zoysia matrella malaysia
zoysia matrella malaysia
At least I hope it is! I've been wringing my brain trying to work out whether these things are weeds or the good stuff. Initially I was pulling up this whenever it was growing to seed, but I recently remembered this diagram a reader had pointed out to me (picture from Aggie Horticulture)
zoysia matrella
and it seems like it I should be letting it grow. This is the full plant with seeds - the leaves look similar, but it seems to grow straight out of the ground without being part of the stolons.
zoysia matrella malaysia

Can anyone confirm for me? Should I be weeding or nurturing? Laying on a little vermicompost or something? :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bird's nest - recycling rawks!

Here are some photos that I've been meaning to use for a long time. WW was trimming the bamboo when she came across this
bird's nest in bamboo with plastic
the twigs growing out of the interstice obviously make good support for a nest, and being inside the clump of bamboo is surely also good protection for the bird and her chicks (who were no longer there when WW cut the bamboo, in case you were wondering).
bird's nest in bamboo with plastic
What's interesting, though sad also in a way, is that the bird used bits of plastic as part of the nest. I suppose it's useful - strong, pliable and waterproof.
bird's nest in bamboo with plastic
bird's nest in bamboo with plastic
Plastic is a really useful material, but I only wish it was used more wisely... instead of, for example, chucking it into the ocean:
"The largest of these garbage swills is known as the Pacific Gyre, or The Great Garbage Patch.

It is roughly the size of Texas, containing approximately 3.5 million tons of trash. Shoes, toys, bags, pacifiers, wrappers, toothbrushes, and bottles too numerous to count are only part of what can be found in this accidental dump floating midway between Hawaii and San Francisco." (The Great Garbage Patch)

Here's someone who decided to make a boat out of plastic bottles to bring awareness to this ridiculous waste of resources

Recycle, reuse, reduce! You know it makes sense!
[Edit 20/10/2009: "Message from the Gyre" - a powerful messge, not for the squeamish!]

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fire ant on yard-long bean

WW planted some yard-long beans, or Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis, and they have started to flower and fruit.
fire ant on yard-long bean malaysia

But there is also someone else interested in the flowers and beans...
fire ant on yard-long bean malaysia

I'm not sure what the identification of the ant is. I suspect it's a fire ant (Solenopsis), because if one of them bites me my foot/hand will swell up. But then again I always react dramatically to insect bites.
fire ant on yard-long bean malaysia

But it doesn't have the darker body associated with the fire ant.
fire ant on yard-long bean malaysia

In the GardenWeb forum there is a discussion on this, and the consensus is that the red ants/fire ants are just licking secretions, not damaging the plant. I'm not sure, the flower that I took this photo of is now withered... Does anybody know?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Frangipani in the morning

We have a pink frangipani, aka Plumeria rubra, growing on the patio. There was some hesitation in getting it initially, as the frangipani is associated with cemeteries here in Malaysia; but WW decided that a pink one would be OK, as it's the white ones that are in the cemeteries.

It has grown well and produces flowers regularly - an interesting factoid about frangipanis is:
"Plumeria flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. The flowers have no nectar, and simply dupe their pollinators. The moths inadvertently pollinate them by transferring pollen from flower to flower in their fruitless search for nectar." (Wikipedia)

Here are a couple of photos which I quite like, taken in the morning
frangipani Plumeria rubra malaysia

frangipani Plumeria rubra malaysia