Saturday, July 23, 2005

It lingers like fragrance

Wednesday was racial harmony day so I came to school in my bhangra outfit.  At assembly we were treated to the mock Chinese, Malay and Indian weddings, staged by teachers and students.  It was really funny to see the discipline master out of character.  The Principal said it was the most memorable event in the past half year and I couldn’t agree with him more.  It seemed like all else had stopped and all minds and hearts were focussed on the celebrations.  Its funny how the school has the knack of doing this to me, surreal.  The last time was in the classroom, 5 months ago when students were acting as “toothpickases” snapping toothpicks to measure rates of enzyme activity.  The 70 minutes passed by as though they were mere seconds but I remember that lesson as though it was just a few days ago.   It lingers like a fragrance.

  

Friday, July 22, 2005

It lingers like fragrance

Wednesday was racial harmony day so I came to school in my bhangra outfit.  At assembly we were treated to the mock Chinese, Malay and Indian weddings, staged by teachers and students.  It was really funny to see the discipline master out of character.  The Principal said it was the most memorable event in the past half year and I couldn’t agree with him more.  It seemed like all else had stopped and all minds and hearts were focussed on the celebrations.  Its funny how the school has the knack of doing this to me, surreal.  The last time was in the classroom, 5 months ago when students were acting as “toothpickases” snapping toothpicks to measure rates of enzyme activity.  The 70 minutes passed by as though they were mere seconds but I remember that lesson as though it was just a few days ago.   It lingers like a fragrance.

  

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Counting stomata

Today I carried out a lab session with a Secondary 3 class. It was basically making epidermal peels from Aloe barbadensis, Tristellateia australasia and Ixora javensis and make observations on any differences between the species in terms of stomatal density. So the class go down to the school grounds to collect the plants themselves and taught them how to make those epidermal peels (some really got quite good at doing that). They were somehow quite surprised to discover actual stomata before their very eyes under 100x magnification. It was really nice to see some wonderment in their eyes. I was quite happy then for having designed that particular experiment and having spent 3 hrs a few days before going through quite a few species to check which could peel easily. Alas, I was humbled when a student looked a wincy bored and when I asked, said that he wanted more blood and gore, having had the pleasure of going through a goat's heart the week before (ahh, I see he is not a botanist).

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Counting stomata

Today I carried out a lab session with a Secondary 3 class. It was basically making epidermal peels from Aloe barbadensis, Tristellateia australasia and Ixora javensis and make observations on any differences between the species in terms of stomatal density. So the class go down to the school grounds to collect the plants themselves and taught them how to make those epidermal peels (some really got quite good at doing that). They were somehow quite surprised to discover actual stomata before their very eyes under 100x magnification. It was really nice to see some wonderment in their eyes. I was quite happy then for having designed that particular experiment and having spent 3 hrs a few days before going through quite a few species to check which could peel easily. Alas, I was humbled when a student looked a wincy bored and when I asked, said that he wanted more blood and gore, having had the pleasure of going through a goat's heart the week before (ahh, I see he is not a botanist).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Beautiful Mahang Puteh


Macaranga hypoleuca
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Macaranga hypoleuca from the Euphorbiaceae (Rubber Tree family). In Greek, hupo - under, leukos-white. It was mesmerising, the bluish white hues as Josh and I looked up from 'neath the branches.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Beautiful Mahang Puteh


Macaranga hypoleuca
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Macaranga hypoleuca from the Euphorbiaceae (Rubber Tree family). In Greek, hupo - under, leukos-white. It was mesmerising, the bluish white hues as Josh and I looked up from 'neath the branches.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A day at the beach


At the beach
Originally uploaded by lekowala.

Jelawei


Terminalia subspathulata
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Terminalia subspathulata of the Combretaceae.

Corner (1988) wrote "There is a tree of this species in the Singapore Botanic Gardens... ... The fruits ripen and blow away about July and August".

The tree in SBGardens is a real handsome and grand one, at Maranta Avenue.

Ref:
Corner, E.J.H. (1988). Wayside Trees of Malaya.Vol 1. The Malayan Nature Society, KL, Malaysia

The blue quandong


Elaeocarpus grandis
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Elaeocarpus grandis from the family Elaeocarpaceae. This trees of this genus are generally called Oil-fruit trees as the flesh of the fruits taste oily. The seeds or stones (as seen in the picture) of some species e.g. E. sphaericus are used as prayer beads in India and are known as Rudraksha beads.

Josh holds Rubber Seed


Josh holds Rubber Seed
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
A take on prophylactics and natural family planning...

Floating around for ages!


Nypa fruticans
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Fruit of Nypa fruticans from the Subfamily Nypoideae, Family Palmae or locally known as the "attap chee". The large fronds are used to tatch roofs of the attap huts. Many other uses including the commercial preparation of cigarette papers from young leaves (rokok nipah) and the preparation of brown sugar and the making of toddy (Whitmore, 1998).

Vehicles from the British North Borneo at Sandakan were once run on power alcohol made from Nipah sugar (Whitmore, 1998). "The large stands of Nypa remain a greatly underexploited resource for fuel alcohol" (Uhl and Dransfield, 1987)

This palm has an incredibly long fossil record and is considered one of the first palms. Fossils have been found in the Eocene and Miocene of Europe (Muller 1979 in Uhl and Dransfield, 1987).

Refs:

Muller, J., 1979. Reflections on fossil palm pollen. IV International Palynological Conference Lucknow (1976-77) 1:568-578.

Uhl, N.W., Dransfield, J., 1987. Genera Palmarum: a classification of palms based on the work of H.E. Moore, Jr. International Palm Society and L.H. Bailey Hortorium, Lawrence, KS.

Whitmore T.C., 1998. Palms of Malaya. 2nd Edition, White Lotus Co. Ltd., Thailand.

A day at the beach


At the beach
Originally uploaded by lekowala.

Jelawei


Terminalia subspathulata
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Terminalia subspathulata of the Combretaceae.

Corner (1988) wrote "There is a tree of this species in the Singapore Botanic Gardens... ... The fruits ripen and blow away about July and August".

The tree in SBGardens is a real handsome and grand one, at Maranta Avenue.

Ref:
Corner, E.J.H. (1988). Wayside Trees of Malaya.Vol 1. The Malayan Nature Society, KL, Malaysia

The blue quandong


Elaeocarpus grandis
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Elaeocarpus grandis from the family Elaeocarpaceae. This trees of this genus are generally called Oil-fruit trees as the flesh of the fruits taste oily. The seeds or stones (as seen in the picture) of some species e.g. E. sphaericus are used as prayer beads in India and are known as Rudraksha beads.

Josh holds Rubber Seed


Josh holds Rubber Seed
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
A take on prophylactics and natural family planning...

Floating around for ages!


Nypa fruticans
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Fruit of Nypa fruticans from the Subfamily Nypoideae, Family Palmae or locally known as the "attap chee". The large fronds are used to tatch roofs of the attap huts. Many other uses including the commercial preparation of cigarette papers from young leaves (rokok nipah) and the preparation of brown sugar and the making of toddy (Whitmore, 1998).

Vehicles from the British North Borneo at Sandakan were once run on power alcohol made from Nipah sugar (Whitmore, 1998). "The large stands of Nypa remain a greatly underexploited resource for fuel alcohol" (Uhl and Dransfield, 1987)

This palm has an incredibly long fossil record and is considered one of the first palms. Fossils have been found in the Eocene and Miocene of Europe (Muller 1979 in Uhl and Dransfield, 1987).

Refs:

Muller, J., 1979. Reflections on fossil palm pollen. IV International Palynological Conference Lucknow (1976-77) 1:568-578.

Uhl, N.W., Dransfield, J., 1987. Genera Palmarum: a classification of palms based on the work of H.E. Moore, Jr. International Palm Society and L.H. Bailey Hortorium, Lawrence, KS.

Whitmore T.C., 1998. Palms of Malaya. 2nd Edition, White Lotus Co. Ltd., Thailand.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Love vine


Cassytha filiformis
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Cassytha filiformis belongs to the family Lauraceae which has members like the cinnamon and advocado. It is a parasite - note the foot like appendages penetrating into the woody stem of the host plant.

Its pantropical in distribution. Get more photos, references and DNA sequences from this site.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Cecropia peltata


Cecropia peltata
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
This tree is a weedy pest from Central and South America. Botanists have a hard time figuring if its in the family Urticaceae, Moraceae or Cecropiaceae. The species is part of a complex (according to this site), so there are two other species that are very closely related, making the distinction between them slightly perplexing.

In its native habitat, Azteca (biting) ants inhabit the hollows of the tree and are thought to protect it from herbivores. Over here in Singapore though, the tree seems to do quite well without need of the ants. The flowers are borne on the finger-like spikes at the end of the long stalk near the crown of the tree.

Not to be a sensationalist but this plant is listed as " 100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species" by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) which is part of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Photo taken at the Singapore Zoo.

Love vine


Cassytha filiformis
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Cassytha filiformis belongs to the family Lauraceae which has members like the cinnamon and advocado. It is a parasite - note the foot like appendages penetrating into the woody stem of the host plant.

Its pantropical in distribution. Get more photos, references and DNA sequences from this site.

Cecropia peltata


Cecropia peltata
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
This tree is a weedy pest from Central and South America. Botanists have a hard time figuring if its in the family Urticaceae, Moraceae or Cecropiaceae. The species is part of a complex (according to this site), so there are two other species that are very closely related, making the distinction between them slightly perplexing.

In its native habitat, Azteca (biting) ants inhabit the hollows of the tree and are thought to protect it from herbivores. Over here in Singapore though, the tree seems to do quite well without need of the ants. The flowers are borne on the finger-like spikes at the end of the long stalk near the crown of the tree.

Not to be a sensationalist but this plant is listed as " 100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species" by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) which is part of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Photo taken at the Singapore Zoo.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Joshua and the Camel


Camel
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Joshua asks:" Papa, why is the camel so big but the "pang pang" (fecal pellets) so small?"

hmmm...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Joshua and the Camel


Camel
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Joshua asks:" Papa, why is the camel so big but the "pang pang" (fecal pellets) so small?"

hmmm...

Matthew in the car


Matthew
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
In the car with Matt. He's both adorable and naughty at the same time. In his terrible two's now - its real. Can imitate the squawks of crows.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Matthew in the car


Matthew
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
In the car with Matt. He's both adorable and naughty at the same time. In his terrible two's now - its real. Can imitate the squawks of crows.

Eat, sniffs and leaves


Sentol
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Siva sniffing the very fragrant Sentol purchased from the Thai embassy bazaar (no apples and pears there, just durians, mangosteen, jambus, mangoes etc). The Sentol, Sandoricum koetjape, Meliaceae is a fruit of the past. I have eaten it on occasions when my grandmother or mum got it from Malaysia or the local wet markets when it was in season. My landlady used to comment that she very much enjoyed eating fruits and vegetables that were in season. Chen Kee also got a first taste of this relic fruit. Active conservation of our fruit heritage. I wonder if we'll find info on the nutritional value of such fruits compared to grapes, oranges and pears.

Thanks for the comment below Otterman!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Eat, sniffs and leaves


Sentol
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Siva sniffing the very fragrant Sentol purchased from the Thai embassy bazaar (no apples and pears there, just durians, mangosteen, jambus, mangoes etc). The Sentol, Sandoricum koetjape, Meliaceae is a fruit of the past. I have eaten it on occasions when my grandmother or mum got it from Malaysia or the local wet markets when it was in season. My landlady used to comment that she very much enjoyed eating fruits and vegetables that were in season. Chen Kee also got a first taste of this relic fruit. Active conservation of our fruit heritage. I wonder if we'll find info on the nutritional value of such fruits compared to grapes, oranges and pears.


Thanks for the comment below Otterman!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Anacardiaceae


Anacardiaceae
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Besides the wild nutmegs were these wild Anacardiaceae fruits (fruit large, fleshy with large flattened stone set with coarse fibres enclosing one seed). They can be very poisonous! Example of a poisonous species is the Lanjut (after which the Jalan Lanjut is named), where the "vapour of the freshly bruised fruit tissues can affect the skin".

Myristicaceae


Myristicaceae
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
I am sure these are from the nutmeg family, perhaps a Horsfieldia species. The smell of the rind is characteristic of the nutmeg. MacRitchie, June 2005.

Lyssa zampa spotted at Sengkang HDB estate


Lyssa zampa
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
I have been following Otterman's Lyssa zampa reports with gusto. So as we came back from the pasar malam, there it was infront of the lift, on the seldomed noticed notice board. It was photographed several times and I am glad to add to the sightings. This is fresh report. Anchorvale Road, 10 pm, 30 June 2005. The back of the moth is hairy; overall, this moth is quite an eye catcher.

Anacardiaceae


Anacardiaceae
Originally uploaded by lekowala.
Besides the wild nutmegs were these wild Anacardiaceae fruits (fruit large, fleshy with large flattened stone set with coarse fibres enclosing one seed). They can be very poisonous! Example of a poisonous species is the Lanjut (after which the Jalan Lanjut is named), where the "vapour of the freshly bruised fruit tissues can affect the skin".