Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Cute Ornamental Plants

Species : Pachira aquatica

Synonyms : Carolinea macrocarpa, Bombax macrocarpum, B. glabrum, P. macrocarpa, etc

Common names : Malabar chestnut, Guina chestnut, provision tree, saba nut, 發財樹, 美國花生, 瓜栗, etc

Family : Malvaceae

Species : Tillandsia usneoides

Synonyms : Dendropogon usneoides, Renealmia usenoides, T. crinite, T. Filiformis, T. trichoides, etc

Common names : Spanish moss

Family : Bromeliaceae

Species : Tillandsia bergeri

Family : Bromeliaceae

Species : Dischidia ruscifolia
Common names : million hearts, etc

Family : Apocynaceae

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Parthenium hysterophorus

Parthenium hysterophorus is a species of flowering plant in the aster family, Asteraceae.   Originated from the American tropics, it is now spread all over the world.  It invades all disturbed land, including farms & plantation, pastures, roadsides, park and gardens in India, Australia, Africa and Asia.


P. hysterophorus is an annual plant of the Asteraceae family. It normally grows to 30-90 cm in height, but can grow up to 1.5-2.5 m.   It occurs in humid and subhumid tropics, capable to grow on a wide variety of soil types

Flower heads are both terminal and axillary, penduculate and slightly hairy; composed of many florets formed into small white capitula, 3-5 mm in diameter.  Each head consists of 5 -8 fertile ray florets and about 40 male florets.  First capitulum forms in the terminal leaf axil, with subsequent capitula occurring progressively down to stem on lateral branches arising from the axils of the lower leaves.  Thousands of inflorescences may be produced at the apex of the plant during the season.
Seeds are black, flattened, about 2 mm long.  A plant can produce about 15,000-25,000 seeds.  Seeds buried in soil can remain viable for at least 4-6 years.  Germination occurred at 10-25°C, over wide range of soil pH.  Germination rate is extremely high.
Flowering may begin as early as 4 weeks after germination.  Life circle is about 86 days under optimum conditions, up to 335 days under unfavourable conditions.

Physiological studies have shown that P. hysterophorus has a low photorespiratory activity and has the C3 photosynthetic pathway but with positive C4 tendencies.

Its wide adaptability, photo- and thermo-insensitivity, drought tolerance, strong competition, allelopathy, high seed production, longevity of seeds in soil, small and light seeds that are capable of long distance travel via wind, water, birds, vehicles, machinery, contribute to its rapid introduction worldwide.

Noxious Weed
Parthenium hysterophorus is a vigorous weed that colonises pastures and farms.  Its presence reduce the pasture and crop production, as well as threatening the local biodiversity.

The presence of P. hysterophorus pollen grains inhibits fruit set in tomato, brinjal, bean, etc.

It found its way to India in the 1950s via contaminated wheat imported from the USA.  Today, approximately 2million hectares of land in India have been infested with P. hysterophorus.

P. hysterophorus was introduced to Australia via the movement of military aircraft and machinery during WW2 and pasture seeds.   In Queensland, it is declared a Class 2 plant under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002.

Health Hazard

P. hysterophorus is linked with several health problems, both in human and domesticated animals.

Contact with P. hysterophorus causes dermatitis and allergic respiratory problems in humans and cattle, due to the presence of toxin parthenin. 

Livestock fed on grass mixed with its leaves too will develop deteriorated quality of milk and meat.

It also causes diarrhoea, severe popular erythematous eruptions, breathlessness and choking.


P. hysterophorus is used in its native neotropics as herbal remedy for various intestinal and skin disorders.  It has potential medicinal properties for skin inflammation, rheumatic pain, diarrhoea, urinary tract infections, dysentery, malaria and neuralgia.

Compost produce from P. hysterophorus can lower weed population, possibly due to allelophatic compounds present in it.  The allelophatic substances may be used as insecticide, herbicide, fungicide and nematicide.

Removal of heavy metal and dye from the environment.


Chemical control with glyphosate has found to be unsuccessful.  Paraquat is effective only when the plant is young.  Manual removal can only be done when the population is small.
Biological control by leaf-feeding beetle from Mexico, Zygograma bicolorata is reported to be able to defoliate and kill the plant.

SecretGarden @ Melaka

Azadirachta excelsa @  Christ Church

Peltophorum pterocarpum @ Dutch Square

 Plumeria rubra @ Makam Hang Kasturi


Phyllanthus emblica @ Muzium Sejarah & Ethnografi

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Star : Dangerous weed Mushrooming

Tuesday 9th December 2014

Deadly bloom: The dangerous weed with flowers growing wildly in Sidam, Kulim.

SUNGAI PETANI: It has been dubbed the “worst weed of the century”, destroying native flora and crops, causing rashes that can leave humans permanently scarred and damaging the intestines of animals that eat it.
Called Parthenium hysterophorus, it was first detected here in September last year in Ulu Yam, Selangor.
But the highly-allergenic plant has since been spotted in Perak, Kedah and Negri Sembilan, raising fears that it has spread throughout the country.
Initial accounts show that the plant has even resisted attempts to control it through weedkillers.
A species of flowering plant native to Mexico, it can cause severe skin disease and hayfever in humans.
It is also toxic to livestock such as goats and cows, causing fevers, ulcers, anorexia and intestinal damage, and can quickly replace native flora by releasing toxic substances, causing massive crop loss.
Similar in appearance to ulam raja, P. hysterophorus is classified as a dangerous pest under the Plant Quarantine Regulations 1981 and can quickly propagate.
According to Professor Dr S. M. Rezaul Karim of Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, this is because one plant, which can reach several feet in height, can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds during its four-week life cycle.
“The seeds can be dormant in the ground for up to 10 years, making it impossible to get rid of.”
In Sg Petani, some areas had been sprayed with herbicide, only to see fresh plants springing anew just days later.
“The weed spreads like wildfire. You can look at examples in other countries, such as Australia which spends millions of dollars yearly trying to control it,” said Dr Karim, who heads the university’s parthenium weed research group.
According to Dr Karim, P. hysterophorus not only competes with other plants for nutrients – it also releases chemicals which damage other plants.
Its effect on people, he said, was particularly worrying as it often grows by the roadside where the public can easily come into contact with it.
“We need to find out how many communities in Malaysia have been affected,” he said.
“In some nations, the rash can become so bad it leaves people permanently scarred. It can take three months for the symptoms to subside,” he said.
Checks by The Star during a recent field trip to Sungai Petani saw the weed growing as high as 1.2m (4 ft) in close proximity to restaurants, paddy fields, businesses and irrigation drains that allow the seeds to hitch a ride to other areas, thus propagating its spread.
According to DOA representatives, the area had been sprayed several times with weedkiller to no avail.
In a media release, the DOA listed several methods of controlling the weed, including destroying the weed in its early stages before it flowers and produces seeds, and curbing it in residential areas using salt water in a 1:4 ratio of salt to water.
The department believes that the weed arrived in Malaysia by way of seeds being carried through imported machinery or in fertiliser.
Among the known affected areas are Kinta, Hulu Perak, Selama, Perak Tengah, Manjung, Kuala Kangsar, Pokok Sena, Hulu Selangor, Kuala Muda, Kota Setar, Seremban and Kuala Pilah.
The DOA’s Plant Biosecurity Division has formed a technical committee on the control, containment and removal of P. hysterophorus that will come up with a standard containment operating procedure and work with state governments to identify and monitor problem areas as well as destroying existing weeds.
State agricultural officers have been briefed on how to deal with the problem while an exercise to identify places where the weed grows is already underway.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Desmodium triflorum

Desmodium triflorum
Synonym : Hedysarum triflorum, Meibomia triflora

Origin & Distribution 
Desmodium triflorum is native to ther Old World tropics and subtropics.   It is currently pantropical.

Environmental Significance
Capable to grow on wide range of soil, tolerant to draught and fire, highly resistant to grazing and mowing, thus very difficult to get rid of.
Considered invasive and notorious weed, especially for lawn.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Scented Climbers

 Artabotrys hexapetalus

Hylocereus undatus 
(龙果 dragronfruit)

Jaminum sambac 
((茉莉花 bunga melur)

Monsoa hymenaea

Odontadenia macrantha

Quisqualis indica ( akar dani )

Stephanotis floribunda

Strophanthus preussii

Telosma cordata (夜香花)

Tetracera loureiri

Vallaris glabra ( kesidang )

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

NST : Malacca Preserves 234 ‘Heritage Trees’

By Kelly Koh

MALACCA: The Malacca Historical City Council (MBMB) has identified 234 trees which will be declared heritage trees.

Mayor Datuk Zainal Abu said they were chosen because they were planted by dignitaries, had reached a certain age, were unique and had iconic status as representatives of certain areas, were high in value, had served the community, for example as a gathering point, and had historical value.

“We have appointed a committee to identify the trees and label them to protect them. These trees must be maintained to provide a green and cooling environment in the city,” he said at the launch of TV3’s Jom Heboh carnival at Taman Bunga Merdeka in Banda Hilir, here, recently.

Zainal said this was part of the local council’s efforts to maintain the status of Malacca as a Unesco World Heritage Site. He said trees from 40 species had been identified, including Melaka, hujan-hujan, batai laut, angsana, mempari, mambu and ketapang.

“They are in Taman Bunga Merdeka, Jalan Kota, Jalan Parameswara, Jalan Laksamana, Jalan Merdeka St Paul Hill, areas near the MBMB swimming pool, areas near the Malacca Sultanate Palace and Dutch cemetery.

“The trees, 36 of which are more than 100 years old, are important assets for future generations,” he said, adding that they were also tourist attractions.

Also present were state Education, Higher Education, Science, Technology, Green Technology, and Innovations Committee deputy chairman Md Rawi Mahmud, Media Prima Television Networks chief operating officer Seelan Paul and TV3 brand management general manager Siti Nurlisia Mohd Nadzri.

Media Prima Bhd also fulfilled its corporate social responsibility through the planting of several species of trees, including the Melaka tree, alongside the release of 300 butterflies and a variety of bird species.

Also present were local celebrities such as Fiza Sabjahan, Zaim Helmi, Maria Tungku Sabri, Eina Azman, Qazeem Noor, and Munir.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Sunday, 28 September 2014


Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon by which an organism produces one or more biochemicals that influence the growth, survival, and reproduction of other organisms. These biochemicals are known as allelochemicals and can have beneficial (positive allelopathy) or detrimental (negative allelopathy) effects on the target organisms.

Allelopathy is characteristic of certain plants, algae, bacteria, coral, and fungi.  Allelopathic interactions are an important factor in determining species distribution and abundance within plant communities, and are also thought to be important in the success of many invasive plants.

List of allelopathic plants

Adenostoma fasciculatum ( chamise )
Allaiaria petiolate ( garlic mustard )
Artemisia californica ( California sagebrush )
Asparatus officinalis ( asparagus )
Bassia scoparia ( burning bush )
Centaurea maculosa ( spotted knapweed )
Chromolaena odorata ( Siam weed )
Cyperus rotundus ( nut grass )
Encelia farinose ( brittlebush )
Forsythia spp
Helianthus annuus ( sunflower )
Lantana camara ( bunga tahi ayam )
Rhododendron spp
Salvia leucophylla ( purple sage )
Sambucus spp ( elderberry )
Solidago spp ( goldenrod )

Ailanthus altissima ( tree of heaven )
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ( Manzanita )
Casaurina equistifolia ( rhu pantai )
Delonix regia ( red flame )
Eucalyptus spp
Juglans nigra ( black walnut )
Pinus spp ( pines )
Prunus laurocersus ( cherry laurel )

Avena spp ( oats )
Coffea Arabica ( coffee )
Hordeum vulgare ( barley )
Nicotina tabacum ( tabacco )
Oryza sativa ( rice )
Secale cereal ( rye )
Triticum aestivum ( wheat )

In the wilder area, oaks have little growing underneath..this was a eerie, foggy morning.

Casuarina equisetifolia litter completely suppresses germination of understory plants as shown here despite the relative openness of the canopy and ample rainfall (120 cmyr) at the location

 Eucalyptus have rather suppressed other vegetation spp. through allelopathic affect

Manzanita ‘circle’ can be easily seen and means “Don’t plant here!”

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Solanum aethiopicum - Terung Iban

 Scientific name :
Solanum aethiopicum L.

Synonyms :
Lycopersicon aethipicum (L.) Mill.
Pseudocapsicum torulosum Moench
Solanum aethopicum Jacq.
Solanum aethiopicum var aculeatum Bunal
Soalnum aethiopicum var giorgii (DeWild.) Bitter
Solanum aethiopicum var inerme Dunal
Solanum aethiopicum var integrifolium (Poir.) O.E. Schulz
Solanum aethiopicum var modicelobatum Bitter
Solanum aethiopicum var paaschenianum (H.J.P.Winckl.) Bitter
Solanum ambrosiacum Vell.
Solanum aurantiacum Sendtri.
Solanum brieyi DeWild.
Solanum geminifolium Thonn.
Solanum gilo Raddi
Solanum gilo var ellipsoidum Bitter
Solanum gilo var erectifrutcum Bitter
Solanum gilo var pierreanum (Pailleux & Bois) Bitter
Solanum gilo var sparseaculeatum Bitter
Solanum gilo subsp megalacanthum Bitter
Solanum gilo subsp monteiroi (C.H.Wright) Bitter
Solanum giorgii DeWild.
Solanum elskensii DeWild.
Solanum hybridum Jacq.
Solanum indicum subsp ambifarium Bitter
Solanum interifolium Poir.
Solanum kupperi Markgr.
Solanum lobelii Ten.
Solanum lusitanicum Dunal
Solanum monteiroi C.H.Wright
Solanum naumannii Engl.
Solanum obtusifolium Willd.
Solanum olivare Pailleux & Bois
Solanum ovatifolium DeWild.
Solanum paaschenianum H.J.P. winkl.
Solanum pierreanum Paill. & Bois
Solanum poggei Dammer
Solanum pseudomelongena Ten.
Solanum racemiflorum Dunal
Solanum scabrum Jacq.
Solanum scabrum Zuccagni nom. illeg., nom. superfl.
Solanum schroideri Dammer
Solanum sparsespinosum DeWild.
Solanum subsessile DeWild.
Solanum sudanense Hammerst.
Solanum texanum Dunal
Solanum undatum var violaceum Dunal
Solanum willdenowii Roem. & Schult. nom. illeg., nom. superfl.
Solanum worsleyi W.Watson
Solanum zuccagnianum Dunal nom. illeg., nom. superfl.
Solanum zuccagnianum var allogonum Dunal

Common / Vernacular Names
African Bitter Pea-Aubergine
African Eggplant
Bitter Tomato
Chinese Scarlet Eggplant
Dayak Eggplant
Dyahatu (Senegal)
Ethiopian Eggplant
Ekitulatula (Uganda)
Garden Egg
Jamaican Bitter Balls
Mock Tomato
Ngbagu (Congo)
Osun (Nigeria)
Sasa (Central Africa)
Sarawak Wild Eggplant
Scarlet Eggplant
Terung Asam
Terung Dayak
Terung Iban
Terung Sarawak
Tomato-Fruit Eggplant
Tungo (Angola)
Wild Pea-Aubergine
Wild African Aubergine

Origin / Distribution
Solanum aethiopicum was domesticated from the wild Solanum anguivi Lam., via the semi-domesticated Solanum distichum Schumach. & Thonn.  Both these ancestral species occure through tropical Africa,  S. anguivi in disturbed vegetation and S. distichum in gardens.  S. aethiopicum is grown throughout tropical Africa and South America and occasionally southernmost France and Italy and in Southeast Asia.

Solanum aethiopicum is strictly a tropical crop species, and is intolerant of low cold temperatures and frost or extremely wet conditions.  It is intolerant of water-logging and some tolerance of irrigation-induced salinity. 

Members of the Gilo Group grow best in full sun in woodland savanna on fairly deep and well-drained soils with pH 5.5-6.8, and day temperatures of 25-35°C and night temperature of 20-27°C. 

The Kumba Group tolerates hotter conditions ( up to 45°C day temperature ) with air humidity as low as 20%, especially if irrigated.

The Shum Group prefers warm, humid conditions and will shed its leaves when it gets dry.

Edible Plant Parts and Uses
In the humid tropical zone of West Africa, S. aethiopicum is mainly cultivated for its immature fruit ( garden egg ), in the savanna area for its leaves and immature fruits ( djakattou ), and in East Africa mainly for its leaves ( nakati ).

In Africa, the immature fruit are used as cooked vegetable in stews, and sometimes eaten raw.  The leaves and shoots are used as a cooked vegetable.  The fruit are sour with a pleasant aroma. 

In Sarawak, the fruit is prepared in many ways.  It is cooked with fish, made into kerabu, or cooked in coconut milk. 

Perennial or annual deciduous shrub, up to 2m tall, often much branched;

Root system extending both vertically and laterally;

Branches and leaves with or without prickles and stellate hairs;

Leaves alternate, simple; stipules absent; petiole up to 11cm long; blade broadly ovate, 6-30cm x 4-20cm, obtuse or cordate at base, acute to obtuse at apex, slightly to deeply lobed at margin, pinnately veined; upper leaves smaller, narrower, less lobed and often subopposite;

Inflorescence a lateral, racemose cyme, 5-12 flowered ; penducle often short or even absent;

Flowers bisexual, regular, 4-10 merous ; pedicel 2-15mm long; calyx campanulate, lobes 4-10mm long; corolla stellate, free not fusd, 6-15mm long, white, sometimes pale purple; stamens inserted near the bae of the corolla tube and alternate with corolla lobes, filaments short and thick, anthers connivent, yellow, opening terminal pores; ovary superior, 2-6-celled, style as long as or slightly longer than stamens, stigma small, obtuse;

Fruit a globose to oblate, 5-15cm across, ellipsoid, ovoid or fusiform berry 2-12cm long, smooth to furrowed, immature green or white turning to red or orange, many seeded;

Seeds lenticular to reniform, flattened, 2-5mm across, pale brown or yellow.

Source : T.K.Lim, Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants : Volume 6, Fruits, DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-5628-1_36, © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht, 2013

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Fiddleheads of Sarawak

paku midin
( Stenochlaena palustris Blechanales )

paku ikan / pucuk paku 
( Diaplazium esculentum Athyriaceae )

paku pahit / paku rusa  
( Diaplazium sorzogoneseAthyriaceae ) 

 paku kubuk / paku uban 
( Neophrolepis acutifolia Lomariopsidaceae )

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Amphibious Excavator

An amphibious excavator is specifically designed to maneuvers in marshy, swampy and soft terrain.   It can also float on water like a boat and work on rivers, ponds and lakes.   Thus ideal for swap land clearing, river deepening, pond desilting, etc.

Amphibious excavator is specially designed with :
1. super long boom for maximum reach.
2. floatables pontoons with isolated water-tight compartments sealed with individual service manhole.
3. optional extendable pontoons to allow each pontoon to retract or extend outward hydraulically.

Nevertheless, its components are commonly available off the shelf from most excavator manufactures, i.e. Carterpillar, Hitachi, Komatsu, Kobelco, Mitsubishi etc.  

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Brass Nozzle Sprayer

To blanket spray an open space or a drain, a bigger nozzle is required.  Brass nozzle for garden hose seems to be the best candidate.   

First, the nozzle is fitted into a rubber hose, of which is fitted into a 20mm polypipe.  The polypipe is finally fitted into a 30mm reinforced PVC pipe.   To hold the pipes together, a rubber strip from used tube is used to strapped the hose combination.