Tuesday, August 22, 2017

An Exciting Find

The other weekend i saw two newly emerged larvae, or maybe already molted to its first instar. They are on citrus leaves, but i didn't see them eating, just attached themselves there. I wanted so much to bring them to the city, feed them there and document/see the transformations. In a way i am so envious of my friends who rear butterfly or moth eggs into eclosion or emerging of the adult butterfly. That way they were able to get very nice pictures of the adults still drying their wings. At that condition the forewings are not fluttering yet and much easier to photograph.

Then i left on Sunday for another week of work in the city.

This last weekend, upon reaching home i immediately looked for it in the same branch, and yes it is still there! However, its twin is already lost, maybe it became food for the birds or mother's chicken roaming around. This is how the larva has grown after a week. 

 Look at it closer, there are seemingly 2 eyes and a headband reminiscent of some tribal design! It actually is lovely. I touched it with a leaf on the forehead, prodding the pair of pink osmeterium to emerge. I hurriedly got the camera, hold it with the right hand, touched it again with my left hand for the osmeterium. However, no amount of proddings scared it that much for its osmeterium to emerge again. Hmm,  maybe it was not scared of me, or maybe it is shy of the camera!

I hope i can still see the pupa when i go home again next weekend. I am so sorry, i cannot bring it to the city, as no citrus tree leaves are available near my place. I will be so excited if i can see it in pupa stage, which i can bring to the city and wait for eclosion!

I cannot wait for the actual emergence before posting. Am too eager, is it obvious! Above will be the picture  of that larva if it is a male Scarlet Mormon, Menelaides deiphobus rumanzovia Eschscholtz 1821. 

  However, if it is a female this will be its form showing the dorsal side.

...and this is the female's ventral side! 

Now, can you understand my enthusiasm in finding the Scarlet Mormon's larva? I will show you the pupa next time, if i will still be lucky, or if it is still lucky! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in August

We are supposedly at the middle of our Rainy Season for this year! I remember rainy seasons in the past when it is difficult to go home in the afternoons, there are some flooding that punishes the commuters most specially the students. There are also days when even the government and private offices are closed to give safety for employees.

We all know that this season brings us lots of typhoons, that eventually gets harder through the years, supposedly because of climate change. We now have Signal #4, when previously the maximum typhoon is only Signal #3. However, these days we only get a few thunderstorms in the afternoons and a few typhoon from the Pacific Ocean. But most of them did not hit land surface. We should be thankful for the less typhoons, but we should also lament the lack of rains. The truth is we only get rains when there are typhoons, seemingly they are directly correlated. Suffice it to say that at present our plants still need rain, maybe not badly but yet they are wanting!

Despite the changes, we still get more blooms than during the dry season.

Impatiens balsamina has more flowers during rainy season

more Impatiens balsamina, also loved by some butterfly species

Top: Ixora javanica and Bottom: Ixora coccinea
They are both planted for the butterflies.

a kind of shrimp plant

Duranta erecta teeming with flowers for the butterflies

Thunbergia erecta

hippeastrum NOID

Hippeastrum reticulatum var striatifolium, the only hippeastrum blooming
continuously throught the year

Crinum zeylanicum has 3 flower buds

hedge of shrimp plant, Pachystachys lutea

Hoya campanulata

Hoya buotii purple

Hoya pubicorolla ssp. anthracina

Hoya benguetensis

 my hoya seedlings growing nicely with higher humidity around

the ferns

the grasses under the coconut trees

Monday, August 7, 2017

In Focus: Hoya 'Black Dragon'

Formerly called The Black Hoya

This hoya was collected from the forest of the Philippines just recently. It was first sold by the collector to foreign markets as Hoya pubicalyx 'Black Dragon'. The photo in the webside really has black corolla. A few attempts in getting it from the collector failed, but subsequent strategies let him sell me one already big plant. It was not cheap, i tell you! Of course, i almost begged him to sell me, so whatever price he quoted, i must pay. So that was the starting story of my 'Black Dragon'. 

flowers starting to burst very obviously showing the pubescent inner corolla

After two long years with constant fertilizing and extra care, it gave me two umbels. The flowers are not as black as that in the collector's website, but it is blacker than most, i suppose. So the observation continued. After many months and lots of not very black corolla color, i read in some collectors abroad that theirs purchased from the same collector also did not appear as black. Some of them were disappointed thinking they were given the wrong species, as the color sometimes are more violet than black.

 the green pedicels
At least mine showed the same characteristics of other parameters except the fully black corolla. I also realized that it was not anymore having its original name, but already changed to Hoya pubicorolla subspecies anthracina. The author said that the original Hoya pubicalyx lectotypes were not existing as they were destroyed in WW II. If that is true or not, an authority still has to make another study and changes if ever that is really reliable. 

 top is almost maroon, while bottom is darker purple almost light black

 If you do not know that the previous 2 photos came from the same plant, you will say they are different! They are both from the same plant, but flowers from different months.

I have a theory that as time goes on the media becomes more acidic, changing the hue from bluish black to reddish. These pigments, being anthocyanins, are very susceptible to change in pH. So i am trying to bring back the black color by alkalinizing the media, however i am not at home most of the time, so it is not done competently. I hope i can do it more religiously when i will be staying at home longer. My color change are changing a bit, but not really very conclusive yet.

 Even the shapes of the individual flowers look different sometimes. Look at the above photo and compare it with the photo above it. They don't look the same, do you agree? But again, they came from the same plant. I know, they are all mine, i took all the photos with the same light setting. The hue differences are obvious to the naked eye in person.

The plant showing the shiny fully green leaves , veins not evident except the midrib. It grows luxuriantly vegetative with a few umbels when fully mature. The good thing here is the continuous flowering once it started, not many simultaneous umbels but continuously. 

The details of the botanical descriptions are here: Kloppenburg, RDK. Hoya New, vol. 1-2, Dec 2013.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Self Supporting Orchids

These Vanda orchids have been on the ground for many years. They seem to be dying in our dry season and rejuvenate again when the rains come. After 2 months of rains, they produce again some inspiring lovely flowers that stay there for 2-4 weeks. They are like ephemerals.

This one is not Vanda but Phalaenopsis schilleriana, native to the Philippines.