Thursday, 24 January 2013

Bornet Post : Engkabang – Butter from the Rainforest

January 24, 2013, Thursday Conny Banji

WAITING TO BE SOLD: Engkabang fruit collected by Punga.


Punga Manja peels off the skin from the fruit.

KANOWIT: The ‘engkabang’ may not be priced as high as most commodities, but longhouse folk enjoy collecting the fruit for the fun of it.

An engkabang tree bears fruit every four to five years.

Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) regards the engkabang fruit (Shorea macrophylla) as ‘butter from the rainforest’ for its buttery texture when cooked in bamboo.

Punga Manja, in her 70s, from Rumah Jarau, Nanga Sibau in Ulu Sungai Ngemah here was among those who collected the fruit.

“Collecting the fruit is like a tradition for us longhouse folk in the rural area.

“I have been collecting the fruit since I was a child. Most of the collection is for sale, with some for making engkabang oil,” she told The Borneo Post when met at her longhouse recently.

Engkabang tree, with a known record of 50 metres tall and four metres in girth, is one of the lightest wood in the red ‘meranti’ group.

The trees are mostly found along the rivers.

Punga sells the dried fruit to a shopkeeper in Nanga Ngemah for 80 sen per kg.

“In my younger days, the price could fetch up to RM2 per kg.

“Not many people want to sell the fruit now. They use it to make oil which is high in demand.

“The oil cooked in the bamboo and then cut into small sections with each section measuring about five inches is usually sold for RM5.
Engkabang fruit.

“Many like its rich buttery taste especially when applied on hot rice,” she said, adding that her granddaughter working in Sibu had frequently asked her for the oil.

Thirty-six-year-old Luli Renggan from Rumah Andrew Balun in Nanga Ngungun resettlement scheme here collects the fruit with her children on weekends.

She sells the fruit as she does not know how to make oil out of it.

“I sell the fruit for RM1 per kg in Nanga Ngemah while in Kanowit, the price is RM1.50 per kg.

“The fruit is plentiful in Sungai Ngungun, but not many youngsters want to collect it because of the low price,” she said.

Meanwhile, Punga has unselfishly shared the method to get engkabang oil.

She said the skin must be peeled off before the fruit was left to dry in the sun or smoked.

Dried fruit is then pounded and squeezed to extract the oil for cooking in the bamboo.

“When it is cooked, it will be left to cool in the bamboo. The texture is like butter when it hardens.

“Besides cooking, the oil is also used for massage,” she said.

It is believed that the oil, rich in an anti-aging property, has found its way into some cosmetic products.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Durian Knife

A durian knife is a specialty knife, probably found only in Malaysia.  It is a specially designed knife, for non-other than opening the hard-thorny husk of the king of fruits – durians!

The knife can be found in some hardware stores, priced around RM20/- each.  It is hastily carved out of a thick metal, sharpened at the edge and at other end curved into a handle.  Nevertheless, in a skilled hand, it is very efficient in cracking open any durian with just a few blow.

Just a blow to the crack-lines at the button of the fruit, follow with a twist and voilà - the prized arils nicely arranged in the compartments.  For the stubborn fruits, a few blows along the crack-lines, and then ply open via strong hands.  

Some customers enjoy the opening of the fruit at the comfort of their home, yet doubtful of the quality of the flesh within.  It is, after all an expensive fruit, and nobody can really see through the thick thorny husk.  So the vendor would, with the durian knife, with 2 precise blows, make a v-shaped cut obove the aril, then lift the v-cut to allow the customers to feel the flesh with their fingers.  Satisfied over the soft arils, the money change hands !

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

How to Write Binomial Names

1. Binomial names are usually typeset in italic, e.g. Zea mays, ;
or any other font different from that used in the normal text, e.g. “Zea mays is a facultative long-night plant.

2. when handwritten, each part of a binomial name should be underlined, e.g. Zea mays.

3. The genus name is always written with a initial capital letter, the specific epithet is never with an initial capital.

4. When used with a common name, the scientific name often follows in parentheses, e.g. “Maize (Zea mays) has 10 chromosomes.”

5. The binomial name should generally be written in full.  The exception to this is when several species from the same genus are being listed, or the same species is mentioned repeatedly, in which the genus is written in full when it is first used, but may then be abbreviated to a capital initial and a full stop.  e.g.  Zea diploperennis and Z. perennis are perennial, while Z. mays, Z. luxurians and Z. nicaraguensis are annual.
In care cases, this abbreviated form has spread to more general use, e.g. Escherichia coli is often referred to just E. coli, and Tyrannosaurus rex is better known as T. rex.

6. The abbreviation ‘sp.’ is used when the actual specific name cannot or need not be specified.  The abbreviation ‘spp.’ indicates plural form.  These abbreviations are not italicized or underlined.  e.g. Canis sp. means “an unspecified species of the genus Canis”, while Canis spp. Means “two or more species of the genus Canis

7. Infraspecific name
When use a connecting term ( subsp., var., c.f., f. etc ), it is customary to italicize all three part of such a name, but not the connection term.
a. ‘subsp.’, plurals ‘subspp.’ for subspecies, e.g longbean - Vigna unguiculata subsp. Sesuipedalis
b. ‘var.’ for varietas (variety) , e.g Broccoli - Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
c. ‘subvar.’ for subvarietas (subvariety) , e.g Chinese cabbage – Brassica rapa subvar. pekinensis
d. ‘cv.’ for cultivated varietas (variety) , e.g Durian -  Durio zibethinus cv. D24, or Durio zibethinus ‘D24
e. ‘f.’ for forma (form) , e.g Bishop’s cap cactus - Astrophytum myriostigma f. quadricostata
f. ‘subf.’for subforma (subform) , e.g. Saxifraga aizoon subf. surculosa

8. The abbreviation ‘cf.’ comes from the Latin word conferre, which means “compare to”.   It is used when the identification is not confirm, e.g. Crovus cf. splendens, indicates “a bird similar to the house crow but not certainly identified as this species.”

9. The symbol ‘’ placed before or after the binomial name indicates that the species is extinct, e.g. † Nelumbo aureavallis.

10. A hybrid is often named with few options :
a. normal botanical name, e.g. Iris albicans
b. a ‘x’ placed before the specific epithet for interspecific hybrid, e.g. Citrus x floridana ( C. aurantiifolia x C. japonicas )
c. a ‘x’ placed before the generic name for intergeneric hybrid, e.g. x Heucherella tiarelloides ( Heuchera sanguinea x Tiarella cordifolia )

11. A graft-chimaera :
a. a ‘+’ placed in between both parents. e.g. Crataegus + Mespilus
b. a ‘+’ placed before a newly-formed name for intergeneric grafting. e.g. + Crataegomespilus (Crataegus + Mespilus)
c. a cultivar name is given for interspecific grafting, e.g. Syringa ‘Correlata’ ( Syringa vulgaris + Syringa x chinensis )

ICZN, International Code of Zoological nomenclature
ICN, International Code of Nomenclature for alge, fungi and plants ( formerly ICBN )
ICNCP, International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
ICNB, International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria
ICTV, International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses

Derivation of Binomial Names

Generic names

Generic names must be a word which can be treated as a Latin singular noun in the nominative case. 

Generic names are nouns that can come from anywhere. They can even be meaningless strings of letters, as long as they can be put into a Latin form and pronounced as if they were Latin. In practice, they tend to come from a few main sources.

a.       Classical Latin plant names :
Acer, “sharp” (maple),
Quercus , “oak tree” (oak),
Ilex, “evergreen oak” (holly).

b.      Classical Greek plant names :
Anemone , “daughter of the wind” (anemone),
Rhododendron, “rose of the tree” (rhododendron),
Carya, “nut” (hickory),
Hieracium, “hawk” (hawkweed),
Myrica, “fragrance” (wax myrtle).

c.       Names from Latin and Greek myths :
Andromeda (an Aethiopian king in Greek mythology),
Calypso (a nymph in Greek mythology),
Iris (a goddess in Greek mythology),
Liriope (a Boeotian naiad in Greek mythology),
Narcissus (a Boeotian hunter in Greek mythology),
Nyssa (a nymph in Greek mythology).

d.      Modern names made from one or more Greek words :
Chrysanthemum (chrysos “gold” + anthemon “flower”),
Lycopodium (lukos “wolf” + podion “foot”),
Philodendron (philo “love” + dendron “tree”),
Podocarpus (podos “foot” + karpos “fruit”),
Stenotaphrum (stenos “narrow”+ taphros “trench”), and many others.
This is probably the largest category of plant generic names.

e.       Latinized names of famous botanists and other people :
Albizia (Filippo degli Albizzi),
Camellia (Georg Joseph Kamel),
Cunninghamia (James Cunningham),
Forsythia (William Forsyth),
Gardenia (Alexander Garden),
Halesia (Stephen Hales),
Kalmia (Pehr Kalm),
Linnaea (Carl Linnaeus),
Magnolia (Pierre Magnol),
Serenoa (Sereno Watson),
Sequoia (Sequoyah),
Torreya (John Torrey),
Wisteria (Caspar Wistar),
Woodwardia (Thomas Jenkinson Woodward), and many others.
Probably the second largest category of generic names.

f.       Names from other languages :
Catalpa (Catawba - Catawba, Native American),
Musa (mauz - Arabic),
Nelumbo (Nelum - Sinhalese),
Nuphar (nīlōtpala - Sanskrit).

g.       Names from other sources :
Aquilegia (aquila “eagle”) – medieval Latin
Liatris (blazing star) – unknown origin,
Trilisa (deer’s tongue-an anagram of Liatris) – unknown origin,
Taxodium (Latin taxus “yew” ; Greek eidos “similar to”) -  mixture of Latin and Greek

-us / -er



Specific epithets

The second word, which identifies the species within the genus, must be a word treated grammatically as a Latin word.

The specific epithet plays one of three grammatical roles: 

1) an adjective modifying the genus name in gender
These adjectives must agree with the genus name in gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter), number (singular or plural), and case (for example, nominative or genitive) :
Lansium domesticum (langsat) - neuter
Nandina domestica (sacred bamboo) – feminine
Passer domesticus (house sparrow) – masculine

2) a noun in the genitive case meaning “of x” (where x is the noun that forms the epithet).  These genitives often commemorate the first collector of a species, in honour of a person, place of origin, or any descriptions of the species :
Acer palmatum – in allusion of the palm-like leaves of “Japanese maple”
Calocephalus brownie “cushion bush” described by botanist Robert Brown
Caltha palustris“marigold” of the marsh
Mangifera indica - “manggo” originated from India
Quercus alba – white colouredoak”

3) a noun “in apposition to,” or placed next to, the generic name
These nouns are to be in apposition to the genus name in gender :
Acer negundo, “Negundo maple” (box elder);
Adiantum capillus-veneris, “Venus’s-hair adiantum;”
Aesculus pavia, “pavia buckeye” (red buckeye);
Diospyros kaki, “kaki diospyros” (Japanese persimmon) ;
Zephyranthes atamasco, “atamasco zephyranthes” (Atamasco lily).