Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Seremban : Cendawan Busut

Cendawan busut / cendawan pusu ( Termitomyces heimii)  is anthill mushroom grown wild in by the waterway, normally in oil palm plantation, thus sometimes called cendawan sawit.  

It is symbiotic with a certain termite, Odontotermes spp.   The termites cultivate the mushroom by breaking down wooden material that the mushroom needs to grow on.  The termites in turn use the material decomposted by the mushroom as food.

The mushroom often found emerging from underground termite nest during rainy season.

While Termitomyces do have somewhat distinctive morphology, the only way to absolutely identify them is by the termite they are associating.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Parasitic Plants @ Seremban2

Dendrophthoe pentandra
family : Loranthaceae
common name : Common Malayan mistletoe

Scurrula ferruginea
family : Loranthaceae
common name : Rusty-leaf mistletoe

Cassytha filiformis
Family : Lauraceae
common name : rambut putri, love vine

Monday, 14 September 2015

Hand Truck

A hand truck, also known as a two wheeler, stack truck, trolley, trundler, box cart, trolley truck, sack barrow, sack truck, dolly, folding nose trolley or bag barrow, is an L-shaped object-moving handcart with handles at one end, wheels at the base, with a small ledge to set objects on, flat against the floor when the hand-truck is upright. The objects to be moved are tilted forward, the ledge is inserted underneath them, and the objects allowed to tilt back and rest on the ledge. Then the truck and object are tilted backward until the weight is balanced over the large wheels, making otherwise bulky and heavy objects easier to move.

Sack Trucks were originally used on  docks to move large sacks of spices back in the 1700s by young boys, from the age of 11, who were unable to lift the large sacks of spices by hand. By using this method they were able to work as well as grown men in moving items around.

Source : Wikipedia

Monday, 17 August 2015

Montsechia vidalii - the First Flower

IU paleobotanist identifies what could be the mythical 'first flower'
New analysis represents major change in the presumed nature of the planet's earliest angiosperms

Aug. 17, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University paleobotanist David Dilcher and colleagues in Europe have identified a 125 million- to 130 million-year-old freshwater plant as one of earliest flowering plants on Earth.

The finding, reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, represents a major change in the presumed form of one of the planet’s earliest flowers, known as angiosperms.

"This discovery raises significant questions about the early evolutionary history of flowering plants, as well as the role of these plants in the evolution of other plant and animal life," said Dilcher, an emeritus professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Geological Sciences.

The aquatic plant, Montsechia vidalii, once grew abundantly in freshwater lakes in what are now mountainous regions in Spain. Fossils of the plant were first discovered more than 100 years ago in the limestone deposits of the Iberian Range in central Spain and in the Montsec Range of the Pyrenees, near the country’s border with France.

Also previously proposed as one of the earliest flowers is Archaefructus sinensis, an aquatic plant found in China.

"A 'first flower' is technically a myth, like the 'first human,'" said Dilcher, an internationally recognized expert on angiosperm anatomy and morphology who has studied the rise and spread of flowering plants for decades. "But based on this new analysis, we know now that Montsechia is contemporaneous, if not more ancient, than Archaefructus."

He also asserted that the fossils used in the study were "poorly understood and even misinterpreted" during previous analyses.

"The reinterpretation of these fossils provides a fascinating new perspective on a major mystery in plant biology," said Donald H. Les, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, who is the author of a commentary on the discovery in the journal PNAS. "David’s work is truly an important contribution to the continued quest to unravel the evolutionary and ecological events that accompanied the rise of flowering plants to global prominence."

The conclusions are based upon careful analyses of more than 1,000 fossilized remains of Montsechia, whose stems and leaf structures were coaxed from stone by applying hydrochloric acid on a drop-by-drop basis. The plant's cuticles -- the protective film covering the leaves that reveals their shape -- were also carefully bleached using a mixture of nitric acid and potassium chlorate.

Examination of the specimens was conducted under a stereomicroscope, light microscope and scanning electron microscope.

The age of the plant at 125 million to 130 million years is based upon comparisons to other fossils in the same area, notably the freshwater algae charophytes, which places Montsechia in the Barremian age of the early Cretaceous period, making this flowering plant a contemporary of dinosaurs such as the brachiosaurus and iguanodon.

The precise, painstaking analysis of fossilized structures remains crucial to paleobotany, in contrast to other biological fields, due to the current inability to know the molecular characters of ancient plants from millions of years ago, Dilcher said.

This careful examination was particularly important to Montsechia since most modern observers might not even recognize the fossil as a flowering plant.

"Montsechia possesses no obvious 'flower parts,' such as petals or nectar-producing structures for attracting insects, and lives out its entire life cycle under water," he said. "The fruit contains a single seed" -- the defining characteristic of an angiosperm -- "which is borne upside down."

In terms of appearance, Dilcher said, Montsechia resembles its most modern descendent, identified in the study as Ceratophyllum. Also known as coontails or hornworts, Ceratophyllum is a dark green aquatic plant whose coarse, tufty leaves make it a popular decoration in modern aquariums and koi ponds.

Next up, Dilcher and colleagues want to understand more about the species connecting Montsechia and Ceratophyllum, as well as delve deeper into when precisely other species of angiosperms branched off from their ancient forefathers.

"There's still much to be discovered about how a few early species of seed-bearing plants eventually gave rise to the enormous, and beautiful, variety of flowers that now populate nearly every environment on Earth," he said.

Other authors on the paper are Bernard Gomez and Véronique Daviero-Gomez of the Université Lyon, France; Clément Coiffard of the Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Germany; and Carles Martín-Closas of the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.

Support for this research was provided by the French National Centre for Scientific Research, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the German Funding Agency and the European Commission, as well as the Indiana Geological Survey and IU Bloomington Department of Geological Sciences.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Grigg-Putnam Index

The Griggs-Putnam Index is one of several empirical methods of estimating the prevailing wind speed at a site by observing the growth patterns of trees. Strong winds will deform trees and shrubs so that they indicate an integrated record of the local wind speeds during their lives

IBrushing occurs when small branches bends downwards.
II-III-IVFlagging occurs when large branches bends downwards, and branches which are upwind are shorter than branches which are downwind.
V-VIThrowing occurs when the actual trunk of the tree curves downwind.
VIICarpeting occurs when the trunk grows along the ground.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Handling Steps for Durian Exported From Thailand : A Pictorial Guide

Elhadi M. Yahia, 2011, Postharvest Biology and Technology of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits, Volume 3, Woodhead Publishing, UK.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Seremban : Mangifera foetida - bacang

bacang, macang, horse mango
Mangifera foetida
Family : Anacardiaceae

Fruit 7-12cm x 9-16cm.  Exocarp dark green, yellowish when ripen, exude irritant latex when injured.    Mesocarp yellowish, fibrous, sourish, and pungent.   Bacang is almost identical to kuini ( Mangifera odorata ) in terms of shape and odour, except It’s extremely fibrous and sourish.

Fruit are consumed fresh or made into juice.  Immature bacang sometimes used in rojak mix, or made into prickle.  In some places, bacang is used as sour agent ( asam ) in cooking and chutney or sambal making.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Leptospermum brachyandrum vs Baeckea frutescens

Leptospermum brachyandrum
Common names : teatree, Australian willow
Family : Myrtaceae
Origin : costal New South Wales, Australia
Description : small tree, up to 5m in heights ; 
grows on wet soil, full sun or part shade. 

 Baeckea frutescens
Common names : cucur atap, curan atap, hujung atap, cina maki
Family : Myrtaceae
Origin : costal and mountainous Malaya & Sumatra
Description : small tree, up to 3m in heights ; 
grows on wide range of soil. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015


Thigmomorphogenesis is the response by plants to mechanical sensation ( wind, raindrops, rubbing by passing animals, etc ) by altering their growth patterns, which may include their canopy structure, growth rate, anatomy, morphology and mechanical strength of their wood. 

Thigmotropism is a movement in which a plant moves or grows in response to touch or contact stimuli, such as wall, pot, or trellis, etc.

Thigmonasty or seismonasty is the nastic response of a plant to touch or vibration.

Thigmotaxis is the movement of an organism toward or away from objects that provide a mechanical stimulus.

Friday, 1 May 2015


Thigmomorphogenesis is from the Greek words “thigma” which means ‘to touch’;  “morphê” shape and “genesis” creation.  Thus, thigmomorphogenesis is the response by plants to mechanical sensation by altering their growth patterns, which may include their canopy structure, growth rate, anatomy, morphology and mechanical strength of their wood.  The mechanical sensation can be evinced by wind, raindrops, and rubbing by passing animals.

The term ‘thigmomorphogenesis’ was first coined by Mordecai J. Jaffe. 1

Plant responses to mechanical sensation through reduction in the rate of stem elongation, increase of stem diameter resulting in shorter and stockier plants.  Other responses include alterations in chlorophyll content, hormone levels, biotic and abiotic stress resistance, pithiness, flowering time, senescence, and stomata aperture. 2

1. Lansing Funeral Home, 2007, The Lansing Star Online Obituaries, 14th October, L-Star Publishing, Inc,  NY.   http://www.lansingstar.com/obituaries/3020-mordecai-j-qmarkq-jaffe
2. Biddington NL.1986,  The Effects of Mechanically-Induced Stress in Plants : A Review. Plant Growth Regulation 1986;4:103-123.

Observations & Studies

Theophrastus, a Greek who succeeded Aristotle in the Peripatetic school, observed that trees growing in windy environments were shorted in heights, shorter internodes, more knots, less straights, closer grain, and harder wood.1

Charles Darwin reported a mechono-stimulus-induced plant behaviour, where roots reorient their growth direction upon making contact with barriers. 2

Free-swaying Pinus radiata trees grew more in diameter over the lower part of the trunk than stayed trees.3

Salisbury reported that repeated touching of leaves of young cocklebur plants caused a 30% inhibition in growth in addition to an increase in rate of leaf senescence. 4

Moderate shaking of Liquidambar trunks for 30 seconds daily reduced height growth to only 20 to 30 percent of that of trees not shaken.5

Young plants of Hordeum vulgare, Bryonia dioica, Cucumis sativus, Phaseolus vulgaris, Mimosa pudica and Ricinus communis show retardation of growth when given mechanical stimulus. 6

1. Theophrastus, 300 BCE, De Causis Plantarum (On the Causes of Plants)
2. Darwin & Darwin, 1881, The Power of Movement in Plants 
3. Jacobs, MR., 1954, The effect of wind sway on the form and development of Pinus radiata D. Don, Australian Journal of Botany 2(1) 35 - 51
4. Salisbury FB, 1963, The Flowering Process, New York, Macmillan.
5. Neel PL, Harris RW., 1971, Motion-induced inhibition of elongation and induction of dormancy in Liquidambar. Science. 1971 Jul 2;173(3991):58-9.
6. Jaffe MJ, 1973,  Thigmomorphogenesis  : The Response of Plant Growth and Development to Mechanical Stimulation : With Special Reference to Bryonia dioica ., Planta 1973 Jun ; 114(2):145-57. Doi:10.1007/BF000387472, 

Summary of structural changes in acclimation to windy environments :
·         Increase in MFA
·         Increase in grain angle
·         Increase in cell division in direction of flexing
·         Increase in wood density
·         Increase in lignification ( higher S:G )
·         Decrease in stiffness, more flexible

·         Shorter thicker stems ( Lower H:D )
·         Smaller leaves
·         Shorter internodes
·         Shorter branches
·         Thicker branch junctions
·         Streamlining

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Sarikei : Local Produce

Engkabang besar
Shorea macrophylla

Engkabang kechil

Engkabang bintang

buah empit
Pentaspodon motleyi

Castanopsis sp.

Passiflora foetida

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Royal Family of Palms

Royal Palm
Scientific name : Roystonea regia

Synonyms : Euterpe ventricosa, Euterpe jenmanii , Oreodoxa regia, Oenocarpus regius, Palma elata , R. floridana, R. jenmanii, R. elata, R. ventricosa, R. regia var. hondurensis

Common names : Cuban royal palm, Florida royal palm, Royal palm

Native : Southern Florida, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean

Caribbean Royal Palm
Scientific name : Roystonea olearcea

Synonyms : Areca oleracea, Euterpe caribaea, Gorgasia oleracea,  Kentia oleracea , Oreodoxa oleracea, Oreodoxa caribaea, R. caribaea, Oreodoxa regia var. jenmanii, R. oleracea var. excelsior, R. venezuelana, R. oleracea var. jenmanii

Common names : palmiste, imperial palm, cabbage palm

Native : Lesser Antilles, Columbia, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago.

Dwarf Royal Palm
Scientific name : Adonidia merrillii

Synonyms : Normanbya merrillii, Veitchia merrillii

Common names : Manila palm, Christmas palm

Native : The Philippines, Sabah 

Pinang Rajah
Scientific name : Cyrtostachys renda

Synonyms : Areca erythrocarpa, A. erythropoda, Cyrtostachys lakka, C. rendah, C. lacca var singaporensis, C. lakka, Pinanga purpurea, Ptychosperma coccinea

Common names : Pinang rajah, red palm, red sealing wax palm, lipstick palm

Native : Thailand, Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo

King Palm
Scientific name : Archontophoenix alexandrae

Synonyms :  Cocos romanzofiana, C. australis, C. plumose, C. datil, C. geriba, C. arechavaletana, Calappa acrocomioides, Calappa australis, Calappa datil, Calappa plumose, Calappa romanzoffiana.

Common names : Alexander palm, King palm

Native : Queensland & NSW

Queen Palm
Scientific name : Syagrus romanzoffiana

Synonyms : Ptychosperma alexandrae

Common names : Queen palm, Cocos plam

Native : Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia

Princess Palm
Scientific name : Dicyosperma album

Synonyms : Areca alba, A. borbonica, A. lacteal, A. propria, A. purpurea, A. furfuracea, A. rubra, A. pisifera, A. aurea, Dictyosperma aureum, D. furfuraceum, D. rubrum, Linoma alba, Sublimia palmicaulis.

Common names : Princess palm, hurricane palm

Native : Mascarene Islands