Monday, October 24, 2016

In Focus: Hoya diversifolia

Hoya diversifolia is a much loved hoya of the Philippines. It was reported to have been found in Palawan, there is even a name H diversifolia subspecies el nidicus, which refer to that one found in El Nido, Palawan. It is reported that aside from the Philippines, it is also discovered from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. There are many subspecies and even written as varieties in hoya websites, but they are probably given by traders to show physical differences, not considering the changes they show when grown in different conditions of the environment including media, pH, nutrition, temperature, sun exposure, etc. Researches to show variations in one through time is non-existent or very limited. Moreover, even the main Hoya diversifolia name has the status of "unresolved" at The Plant List.

Long time growers very well know that hoya characteristics changes in color, shapes of flowers or leaves and a lot more phenotypically. But this species is named such because of its diverse characteristics of leaves. For example, sizes of leaves vary so much that if only big leaves are shown continuously for a long time, someone might think that it is the actual leaf sizes for it. However, the word diversifolia came from diverse or variations of the foliage.

Even with the growth of the flower buds, there are normally a few stages in one umbel at a particular time. The above umbel has at least 3 stages of flower development. But there are also umbels showing the same stages of flower growth. 

The early opening buds already produce an exciting phase like the photo above. The fuchsia corona color peeps through the light colored corolla making the opening very dramatic. 

Nectar is also a prominent characteristics of this hoya, giving indoor growers in temperate countries some difficulty with cleanliness. Nectar is sticky and difficult to clean most specially because flower stays open for 1 week. Scent is not very sweet nor bad, just a pale discernible flavor. 

I taste all the nectar of my hoya, and i just discern the sweetness, characteristics of all their nectar. 

This hoya has long internodes and really grows fast, so i allowed one plant to climb the lanzones tree. Despite our very long, hot dry season, it thrives there without any watering. The leaves just turn yellow and wilted, but recovers quickly after the first heavy rains of the next season. It is also noticeable that almost all nodes are laden with umbels. 

It climbs almost all branches and twigs, then the stem end drops to space for lack of suitable object to cling to. Even the dropping stems bear continuous umbels on every node.

The characteristic differential flower bud maturity in an umbel is shown in many umbels of the above photo.

 But there are also umbels showing the same stages of maturity. By the way, we can see the sudden big size of that above leaf, surpassing all the sizes of the older leaves before it! Diversity in foliage clearly sustained.

This is the main trunk of the tree it climbed on, now already fully enveloped at the base. It also produces long adventitious roots reaching the ground, finally getting more food sustaining it for the dry season.

The only difficulty i have is climbing the roof just to get some photos. At least our house has a lower roof above the terrace, where i can easily climb via the 2nd floor window.

 Flowering starts in September and continue until December or January. That is almost 6 months of non-stop flowering. This is the difference when growing in their natural habitat, as many growers in temperate countries are disappointed for years without blooms. In my case, even the very short newly planted cuttings produce small number of flowers.

 My Hoya diversifolia does not disappoint growers. It is self supporting without watering and did not receive any taste of fertilizers. It also caters to insects in their own food chain, as lots of them are thriving in that small micro community.

Can you see that green praying mantis at the top right portion of the photo? 
I just saw it when i post this here. 

Previous In Focus posts: 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Awesome Finds in October 2016

Everyone who follows or read my posts or in Facebook know that i go home only on Saturday after lunch and back to the big city again on Sunday afternoon. That only leaves a few hours for me to tend the hoyas, other plants, eat sleep and take photos. Somehow, weekends are not relaxing anymore, as after hours of travel there still are a lot of things to do. I tell you i cannot even go online or reply to some text messages. Even the eye drops that i must regularly do in 4-hour intervals have to be cued by alarms. I sleep late trying to pollinate some hoyas in bloom, which till now is not giving me positive results. My back aches due to bent positions while magnifying the pollinia and trying to put them in the stigma of the mother flower. Oh My God, am i too busy?  My weekends surely occupy all of my time.

But please do not think of these as complaints, i assure you i am just stating facts. The truth is i appreciate all of these. They make my soul occupied and happy. More so, if on the side i still can photograph some critters and butterflies. Never mind if my meals are late, nor can i sip a cup of coffee. These things satisfy me, unless they don't, according to Neal Donald Walsh.

 above butterfly is only half a centimeter in length

a bagmoth inside its house before it becomes an adult, very good camouflage

 a spider maybe smaller than a centimeter

a very young praying mantis without the wings yet

can you see the mother praying mantis above, i also saw it just in the picture

Mud urns as nests of a wasp species. Only 1 egg is deposited in one nest together with a mummified larva of another insect that serves as food when the wasp egg emerges from the egg.

  We have lots of different types of spider web, in the past i have already blogged them.  This one seems different, i guess those knobs in a straight line are the insects caught there whose juices are already sipped by the owner of the web. 

 And this is my most awesome find, a very well camouflaged larva which blended favorably with the  trunk plus lichens. It is already static there probably about to pupate. Below are the anterior and the posterior close-up shots. It actually is facing downwards. Nature is really awesome