Monday, December 25, 2017

Renaissance Art - Canestra di frutta

Basket of Fruit ( Italian: Canestra di frutta) (c.1599) is a still life oil painting by the Italian Baroque master Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), which hangs in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Ambrosian Library), Milan.

It shows a wicker basket perched on the edge of a ledge. The basket contains a selection of summer fruit.

Caravaggio's Fruit: A Mirror on Baroque Horticulture
Jules Janick
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Purdue University, West Lafayette Indiana 479076-2010

“ The uppermost fruit is a good-sized, light-red peach1  (Prunus persica) attached to a stem with wormholes in the leafi resembling damage by oriental fruit moth (Orthosia hibisci).

Beneath it is a single bicolored apple2 (Malus pumila), shown from a stem perspective with two insect entry holes, probably codling moth, one of which shows secondary rot at the edge;
one blushed yellow pear3 with insect predations resembling damage by leaf roller (Archips argyospita);
four figs (Ficus carica), two white4a and two purple4b—the purple ones dead ripe and splitting along the sides, plus a large fig leaf with a prominent fungal scorch lesion resembling anthracnose (Glomerella cingulata);
and a single unblemished quince5 (Cydonia oblonga) with a leafy spur showing fungal spotsii.

There are four clusters of grapes (Vitis vinifera), black6a, red6b, golden6c, and white6d; the red cluster on the right shows several mummied fruit, while the two clusters on the left each show an overripe berry. There are two grape leaves, one severely desiccated and shrivelediii while the other contains spotsiv and evidence of an egg mass. “

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Plantation's Manager Bungalow - Hatter's Castle 1923 Carey Island

Carey island was named after Edward Valentine John Carey, an Englishman planter whom  acquired the island from the Sultan Alaedin Sulaiman Shah to start a rubber plantation.   Carey began the plantation under Jugra Land Ltd and Carey Ltd.  The Island was divided into four estates : North, South, West and East. 

There are seven managers’ and engineers’ bungalow on Carey Island.   Hatter’s  Castle was built in 1923 by engineer C.L.Gjorup for himself to live in, with a flat at the top for the General Manager,  Mr James French when he visited. 

All the timber for constructing Hatter’s Castle was cut from the estate as they cleared the jungle, bricks were backed locally, and the furniture was made locally by Chinese craftsmen.  There was a water storage system which collects rain water off the roofs and piping it into sealed underground tanks.

The name of the bungalow was inspired by A.J.Cronin’s novel of the same name.   The ‘Hat’ was the domed roof over the first floor terrace which was removed in the 1950s because the wooden structure was decaying.

Gjorup also built the Club House and the bunds and water gates.  In addition,  Gjorup also built two other estate bungalow in similar style at Sogomana in Perak and Telok Merbau Estate in Selangor

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Citrus Scab

Pathogen :
[ fungus ] Elsinoe fawcettii

Symptoms :
Leaf & fruit –  young foliar lesions superficially resemble young citrus canker, may have a slight water soaked margin.  
As pustules develop, the small elevated pink spots become more defined and may form conical depressions nearby.  
When pustules mature, they become warty and crack.  
Scab pustules colour may progress to yellowish brown and eventually to a dirty grey.

Prevention and Control :
Citrus scab can be controlled using resistant cultivars, and by fungicide application.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Pitcher Plant @ Seremban2

Nepenthes gracilis

Synonyms : N. korthalsiana, N. longinodis, N. laevis, N. angustifolia,
Common name : Slender pitcher-plant
Native : Borneo, Indochina, Kalimantan, Malaya, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Thai.
Characteristics : climber, perennial, autotrophic, terrestrial
Habitat : lowland peat swamp forest or disturbed area with poor soils
Description : Flower : dioecious, yellow, raceme, polycarpic.  Fruit : brown, simple, capsule.
Propagation : seeds, cuttings.
Conservation : UCN Red List of Threatened Species - Least Concern (2000)

p.s. special thanks to Patrick Ong @ fb for ID

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wayside Alien Fabaceae @ Seremban2

Leucaena leucocephala ( petai belalang ) has been described as a ‘miracle tree’ for its multiple uses, yet also dubbed as a ‘conflict tree’ as a noxious weed.

Described as the world’s most widely used forage tree legume by FAO, L. leucocephala in an excellent source of high-protein fodder for animal feed and excellent firewood, and efficient in nitrogen fixation.  The young shoots, young pods, and mature seeds are consumed as food for human.  However, it contains mimosine, a toxic amino acid to non-ruminant vertebrates.

Yet, it is listed as one of the 100 worst invasive alien species by IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group.  It can grow wide range of soil and rainfall environment, grows quickly and forms dense thickets and produces large quantity of seeds.

Key words : allelopathic, N-fixation, mimosine. 

Neptunia plena ( aquatic sensitive plant ) is an invasive plant thriving on waterlogged area and watercourses.  It is not confined to wetlands but tolerates considerable flooding.  During dry period, the plants become dormant and persist as seeds.  It can lead to increased algal blooms reduce water quality by preventing light penetration and reduce oxygenation of water. 

N. plena and N. oleracea are both referred as ‘water mimosa’.  Water mimosa is a restricted invasive plant under Queensland’s Biosecurity Act 2014.

Key words : allelopathic, N-fixation, mimosine. thigmonasty

Mimosa pudica ( sensitive plant )  is most probably the well-known for its rapid plant movement.  It is most often grown as potted plants for its curiosity value.  It also became an ideal plant for experiments regarding plant habituation and memory.

M. pudica has been listed in the Global Invasive Species Databease 2010.

Key words : allelopathic, N-fixation, nyctinastic, mimosine. thigmonasty

Mimosa diplotricha ( giant sensitive plant ) includes 3 varieties : diplotricha, odibilis and inermis

Although M. diplotricha is an excellent ground cover and green manure, it is restricted invasive plant under Queensland’s Biosecurity Act 2014.

Key words : allelopathic, heliophytic, N-fixation, nyctinastic, mimosine. thigmonasty

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

NST : Malaysian bonsai enthusiasts told to stop collecting endangered Mentigi trees

November 7, 2017 @ 2:15pm

KUALA TERENGGANU: Bonsai tree collectors have been told to stop collecting the highly-prized Mentigi tree (Pemphis acidula) which is now listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),

The Mentigi tree is a slow-growing species but a hardy plant which was once abundant along the rocky banks and broken corals in Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Kapas. It is not an easy plant to extricate as the roots are usually firmly embedded in rocks or boulders.

However, since the plants became popular as a bonsai specimen, it has become the target of collectors although most of the areas where it grows are gazetted forest reserves.

Removing the plant is punishable under Section 15 of the Forestry Act 1984 for taking forest produce from a permanent reserved forest.

Mentigi tree is now listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Photo by Ron Yeo of
“The Mentigi is a unique plant. It is hardy and slow-growing. Its natural habitat along rocky shores on the islands suggests that it is providing protection just like mangrove does to coastal areas,” said State Forestry director Datuk Ahmad Fadzil Abdul Majid.

He said collectors take great risks by removing the plants because a Mentigi tree would have its trunk roots firmly embedded in the rocks or boulders.

“Collectors need to chisel away the rocks and the process may take days. They have to endure that heat and wind. More than one person may be involved in collecting the plant. Even if they succeed, there is no guarantee that the tree will survive re-potting.

“So it is best to leave the trees where they are. It is not worth risking the dangers and the possibility of being caught removing a protected plant species from a forest reserve,” he added.

Meanwhile, a collector who declined to be named said a top grade medium-sized Mentigi bonsai could fetch as much as RM30,000 per plant.

“What is available among collectors now are plants that have been trained over many years. New plants cannot be immediately made into a show plant,” added the collector.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fresh Produce @ Seremban2

a make-shift stall by farmer Afendi and his older brother.
Afendi can be reach via hp 018-351-1458

According to Afendi, they produce lots of bunga kantan
Bunga kantan is an essential ingredient for
asam laksa, kerabu, manok pansoh, arsik ikan, etc.

banana leaves are essential in South Indian cuisine - the meal is served on banana leaf!
 Apparently, Malay also used banana to wrap foodstuff :
nasi lemak, tempe ;
vessel for kueh koci, kueh abuk, pulut panggang, pisang bakar, 
pad for cooking lemang, kueh angku etc.

Banana's flower are consumed mainly as vegetable.

It can be just simply boiled, steamed ; 
consumed as kerabu salad, masak gulai, goreng pedas, etc

pisang berangan is usually consumed fresh.  
however, like all banana, berangan can be goreng ( sauté, fried or deepfried ),
and made into kerepek.

Pisang abu is widely used in pisang goreng.

According to Afendi, pisang kapas is the best banana
for cooking gulai, cucur, or pengat pisang.

ubi kayu must be properly cooked before consume.
Raw cassava contains  cyanogenic glucosides, linamarin and lotaustralin, 
which upon degraded by enzyme linamarase, liberating hydrogen cyanide.
Ubi kayu can be consumed after steamed, boiled or baked.
It is usually make into kueh bingka, kuih puli, tapai ubi,
dessert ubi kayu bersantan, kerepek, etc.

Keladi can masak lemak pedas, or asam pedas.

Lemongrass is used in cooking tomyam, satay, rendang, asam laksa, etc ;
minuman teh serai madu.

Ulam raja - a major ingredient in nasi ulam utara.
Best consumed fresh as salad.

Pucuk paku are usually just masak lemak pedas, goreng sambal, etc.

Daun salam, also known as Indonesian bayleaf.
It is used as rempah.

Daun pandan is widely used for its fragrant,
especially in making kueh : kueh talam, bingka pandan, seri kaya.
It is also used in cooking ayam goreng pandan.

Daun ubi is cooked as vegetable :
pucuk ubi tumbuk, masak lemak with or without chili.

Kangkung, best for goreng sambal !

The mini round green brinjal is usually cooked as 
Terung pipit berlada, sambal terung pipit, or the universal masak lemak.

Cili padi is a HOT chili, can be used in all dishes.
Use extreme caution !

Betik muda is unriped mature papaya.
It is used in betik muda masak bening, tumis santan, kerabu, lemak cili, 
som tum ( Thai papaya salad ) etc