Monday, September 26, 2016

Art in a Hibiscus

Gumamela, that is our local term for  Hibiscus rosa-sinensis! This is a plant that has been with all of us since we were born, and our grandparents were born. It can be called a heirloom plant. It can be found everywhere, at different colors, different leaves and different varieties. Some are planted as hedges at the margins of the property, some allowed to grow tall as tall shrubs, some fully manicured topiaries, and some in very beautifully pedestal pots. But many of these local varieties are just taken for granted, left growing at the sides, eaten by stray animals especially goat kids, and didn't receive any care from human beings. But they still strive to live, come rainy season nor long dry season! And that is how tolerant and resistant the gumamela plant is to us.

We have a plant relegated to the sides just like what i mentioned. But i know it has to be loved, cared for and given attention. The following shows some of the characteristics of even just a gumamela flower. And i am sure, there still are many angles i haven't shown. And the whole plant is much more useful than what we see! But please excuse me if this plant might be a hybrid, as i didn't know. It has been there for quite a while, as if it is a native!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September Blooms

I have not posted for July and August, but for this month i will try to maximize my chance. I hope you will bear with me. I felt so deprived of so much for so long.. But rest assured these flowering plants are still flowering now, actually from July to the present they are in bloom. Some are at the height of their blooming period, but others are already maturing with pods already maturing for the next generation. And all these are nectar plants for our butterflies. Last two long weekends i prioritized shooting the butterflies because they might not be here for the following weekends. I shelved my too plenty chores for the hoya. Next weekend i will try to finish my chores with them.

Impatiens balsamina at the back and red salvia in front

I am not so lucky in taking the photo of this Common Mormon, it is one of those which doesn't stop fluttering the front wings even when sipping nectar.

 Crossandra infundibuliformis, i have two colors, the other one is orange. They become invasive in the long run, as aside from the seeds they also have tubers that can withstand long droughts under the ground. As the rains come they get resurrected!

 white Impatiens balsamina

 violet Impatiens balsamina, i can expect a pink next year from the hybrids of these two colors

I am so attracted with the young anthurium leaves, with its lovely symmetrical shape and color. The old flower is at the right.

This yellow Ixora is also loved by butterflies.

...but nothing compares to the attraction of the purple Duranta erecta. Butterflies are swarming here last 3 consecutive weekends, lots of them, with even 6-8 individuals within the same species. I have a few shots with some of them visible in one shot. Above is a Blue Tiger (Tirumala limniace), while below is a male Common Mormon.

This crinum started the previous day, but i am already leaving the 2nd day and yet only one flower is already open. I cannot wait for all the buds to bloom. Even just one open flower is enough to send the sweet scent around it. 

Some Hoya

 Hoya celata is almost pure white

 Hoya carnosa, the ever reliable species 

Hoya bifunda ssp. integra

Hoya merrillii, it normally doesn't offer very organized flowers in an umbel, but this one is a bit better.
Hoya benguetensis starting to open, eventually it will assume the reflexed pose

Hoya valmayoriana. Can you imagine the view of the above two blooming next to each other? I tell you they can really hold you attention. I kept looking at them, for quite long minutes.

Hoya pubicorolla ssp. anthracina

Also an old reliable species, Hoya pubicalyx. Can you spot the green spider?

The Star of the Garden, one of the biggest flowers in hoyaworld, Hoya imperialis! It is also endemic to the Philippines and one of the most sought after hoya. It originated in Palawan, and there is also a white variety circulating among hoya collectors. I had 3 small rooted cuttings in the beginning, but only this one succeeded. It is very expensive at the moment, maybe not only for its flowers but also because it is difficult to propagate. I succeeded in 2 previous propagations, but one died. I tried the next 2, but both did not root! I don't know how to time the propagations yet. But i promise i will not stop trying.

Nature Notes
Our World Tuesday

Friday, September 9, 2016

Flower In Focus

I have not revived the Hoya In Focus for sometime. Actually i don't have a time schedule for it, just do it when i feel like so, or when i am inclined to post one again. Usually, i do a species if i have many photos of the plant and flowers, at least with several stages of flower development.

Now i have Hoya benguetensis. This means it came from Benguet, a province in the Cordillera Region in the highlands. Baguio City is maybe the more famous place, and it is from Benguet province. The suffix "ensis" means the species originated from that place.

My first idea is that this plant needs a colder temperature, as it is cold in Benguet being in the highlands. So i placed this plant first under some shades of other plants to at least have a slightly lower temperature. However it didn't flower for two years. It just produced leaves. Above shows the lovely green leaves, with 4 veins attached to the midrib, called quintuplinerve. (I will still verify if my memory is correct)

Then i placed it in the north part of the garden where it received direct sunlight from morning till afternoon. It immediately produced peduncles that eventually turned into lovely red umbels. This plant has 4 umbels that never stopped blooming. After dehiscence, new buds again start to develop. 

The stems are not very much twining, unlike other hoyas. The young shoots just grow in the space nearby without holding on to other stems, resulting in dangling long stems falling to the sides.  From these stems arise the peduncles that bear the buds. 

These are the buds from the topmost photo. Compared to other hoya buds, these are more flattened, with just a very slight protrusion at the tip or center of the bud, which later on becomes the tip of the corolla. 

This shows the slightly opening flowers, which happen at the early afternoon about 2:00pm. I just am not sure if this time is the same in all places. A very prominent distinguishing feature of this species is the dark corona, maroon or fuchsia, with yellow at their centers. 

A very lovely shape of the flowers immediately after all the buds opened. This happens just a few minutes from the start of corolla break. 

A few hours later the flowers reflex to this positions. This was already shot about 6:00pm or 4 hours from start of opening. For most hoyas, the strongest scent was emitted after full opening, together with production of nectar. It signals that they are ready for pollination, attracting the night pollinators like the moths. However, even the ants, spiders, praying mantis, some green fly and other insects are attracted too. In this case, those small black ants partake in the sweet nectar. 

This shows the reflexed corolla of Hoya benguetensis flowers, with the corolla tips even bending backwards.  Am sorry for the blurry photo, but this is what i can find in my files, haven't taken a nicer single flower photo.