Simpoh Malesia

All about learning Dillenia

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Member of Dilleniaceae noted at Endau Rompin National Park (Selai)

Endau Rompin National Park (Selai), the western gateway to the Endau Rompin National Park is officially open to public in 2003. It comprise of 29,343 hectares, situated at Bekok, Segamat, Johore. I had recently joined the July Trans Peta-Selai Expedition 2012. The trail began from the Selai entrance at Lubuk Tapah traversing, in the direction southwest-northeast, through the central part of the Park and ended at Sg. Marong. We were separated into two team and my team were based at the main base camp which is at the Bertedung Base Camp. We stayed there 6 nights and inventorized the medicinal plants particularly those used by the Jakun communities there. Collections and observations were made focusing on the trails along Bukit Belaking towards Bertedung Camp, foothill of Gunung Tiong and also from Bertedung Camp towards Bagoh Camp.
During the expedition, we manage to discover several members of Dilleniaceae which includes Acrotrema costatum (photo below) and at least two Tetracera species. A small seedling of 'simpoh puteh', Dillenia albiflos which is endemic in Johor is also noted along the trail from the base camp heading towards Bagoh Camp. Another species of simpoh that is pretty scattered around the area is 'simpoh gajah' or scientifically known as Dillenia reticulata.
Acrotrema costatum or locally known as tutup bumi rimba is the only species in this genera which occur in Peninsular Malaysia. This species is also the only one that is in the form of herb in Dilleniaceae. The Jakun community uses this plant to treat waist pain and also for the treatment of irregularities of the menstrual cycle (J-BioTech 2007). The other genera of Dilleniaceae, Tetracera is a climber. There are 9 species of Tetracera in Peninsular Malaysia. They seldom flowers or fruits except for several common species. Therefore, it is very hard to identify them into species level. The leaves (particularly the below part) are usually very rough and can be used as sand paper. The trailing stems can be used as a rope. The photo of one of the Tetracera species, commonly known as 'mempelas' found during the expedition is attached here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Key to Dillenia species in Peninsular Malaysia

There are many diagnostic characters where one can use to distinguish Dillenia species in Peninsular Malaysia. Many taxonomists uses the characteristics of the reproductive (flower/fruit) parts to create their key. Therefore, it is dificult when such parts are unavailable due to the season during collections that were being carried out. In order to have a friendly user key, i had created a new key which combines both vegetative and reproductive characteristics as below. I hope this key will be useful for those who needs to key out Dillenia species in Peninsular Malaysia. I had presented this key in the Flora Malesiana Symposium (FM8) in Singapore Botanic Gardens on August 2010.
Key to Dillenia species in Peninsular Malaysia
1.Petiole amplexicaul, winged…………………………..........2
Petiole non-amplexicaul, not winged………………...........3
2.Tree; wing constricted at leaf base; flower white……………...D. albiflos
Shrub; wing not constricted at leaf base; flower yellow...
D. suffruticosa
3.Petiole with gutter; half-rounded, glabrous to sparse to moderately
Petiole without gutter; rounded, moderate to densely hirsute……………7
4.Margin entire and smooth; apex rounded to emarginate; secondary veins
glabrous on both surfaces……………………………….D. pulchella
Margin not entire and coarse; apex acute to obtuse; secondary veins
> 9 pairs; pubescent on both surfaces……………5
5. Inflorescence-raceme; stamens purple; fruit dehiscent…......D. excelsa
Solitary flower; stamens not purple; fruit indehiscent……………………….6
6.Petiole smooth; petal white; stamens yellow in 2 less conspicuous rings.
...............D. indica
Petiole slightly winged (decurrent leaf); petal yellow; stamens yellow to
pale yellow in 2 conspicuous rings.....................................D. obovata
7.Leaf apex acuminate to acute; base cuneate to acute…….D. sumatrana
Leaf apex acute to obtuse; base acute to obtuse…………………….............8
8.Small buttress; leaf base asymmetric; solitary flower…………D. ovata
Stilt roots; leaf base not asymmetric; inflorescence-raceme………………9
9.Dry leaf (underside) red to purplish brown; tertiary veinlets
inconspicuous and not raised; without petal…….....D. grandifolia
Dry leaf (underside) golden brown; tertiary veinlets conspicuous and
raised; with petal…….....................................................D. reticulata
Happy botanizing Dillenia! I'm currently involved in another genus (Melastoma) also in the Subclass of Dilleniidae . So, it's Melastoma hunting for this year which is why i did't got the chance to update much on Dillenia.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Discovery of Dillenia albiflos

It's good to know that there are still some viewers for my blog. I'm sorry it took me a long time to update my blog. A little bit restricted by time due to heavy schedule in work this year.

I would like to share my discovery of D. albiflos (photo above) that i encountered during my fieldtrips in Taman Negara Endau-Rompin, Johor. Although it's not a new record, it's good to know that their populations there are surviving pretty well in the National Park. A lot of the seedlings can be observed on the trails.

D. albiflos is endemic in Johor. The key diagnostic of this species is by looking at the petiolar wing that is restricted at the basal of the leaf (photo above). Apart from that, take note that the inflorescence of this species is unusually very long and complex (photo below) compared to other species of Dillenia in Peninsular Malaysia. This is the only tree that i managed to spot the reproductive part i.e. the budding stage.

Apart from D. albiflos, Endau Rompin National Park also houses several other endemic species suah as Phyllanthus watsonii (photo below) that can be found on the sand bank of Endau River on the way towards Kuala Menarong (Taman Negara Endau Rompin (PETA), Johor) and also the giant palm fan Livistona endauensis that can be found at Padang Tujuh (Taman Negara Endau Rompin, Pahang)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Dillenia albiflos in flower

It's been quite some time since i updated my blog. Sorry about the delay though i wasn't really sure who often visited my blog anyway. On my recent fieldtrip to Johore, i manage t capture the bloom of Dillenia albiflos or more well known as 'simpoh puteh'. This is my first time witnessing the fresh flower. The flower is small in size and white in colour (photo as below).
Well, the interesting fact about this species is that it is restricted in certain part of Johore. My first encounter with this species is in Panti Forest Reserve and i also noted this species in my recent visit to Hutan Lipur Gunung Berlumut. The inflorescence of this species are slightly different compared to other species of Dillenia in Peninsuar Malaysia as the racemes are more complex and seems to be dangling down from the terminal end of the twig. Another thing that i noted is that the flower of this species faces downwards (photo as below).
Below is the photo on the habit of D. albiflos. Although this tree is captured during flowering season, the inflorescence and flowers are hardly visible. This is mainly because the flowers are small and white in colour, therefore much paler and not as striking and big as flowers of other Dillenia species in Peninsular Malaysia that are yellow orangey.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dillenia suffruticosa in Kuching, Sarawak

On my previous trip to Kuching, Sarawak lately, i found out that there are abundance of 'simpoh ayer' that can be found growing wild there. It can be found almost everywhere, by the roadside, at the bushes and even on the island on rocks formation in Bako National Park. Pretty amazing plant and they are pretty well known to the natives too. My tour guide, Stephen (Kelabit tribe) told us that they use the leaves from this simpoh to wrap food inside the jungle as they help to avoid the food from going bad and the leaves are very fragrance.
Below, is the flower of Dillenia suffruticosa which i captured during my trip to Semengoh Rehabilitation Centre. The flower and leaves characters are consistant with the one found in Peninsular Malaysia.

I noticed that they are often planted as ornamental plant here in Sarawak too. On my trip to Bako National Forest, i managed to catch a glimpse of a rather poisonous snake resting on the simpoh branch after its lunch, waiting for digestion (photo below). See whether you have a good eye sight to spot it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ethnobotany usage of 'simpoh' & their identification

It had been a long time since i updated this blog. I was rather buzy with work and family affairs lately. However, i would like to share a poster that i had presented lately at Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Seminar at Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. This seminar was organized by FRIM. For those who are interested in the ethnobotany of 'simpoh' and would like to get some tips to identify them can do so by browsing through my poster. I had presented only 5 species of 'simpoh' (Dillenia) that occur in Peninsular Malaysia that were used by certain ethnic in not only Malaysia but also Southeast Asia. Furthermore, i had included the latest distribution of Dillenia species in Peninsular Malaysia.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

High time for Dillenia excelsa blooms

It's high time for Dillenia excelsa at FRIM in blooms now. It is really an amazing view to witness espeially in the morning as the flowers are still fresh and the bright yellow petals are still intact. The contrast colour of the stamens which are purplish highlighted the flower even more. There are 2 types of stamen that can be witnessed on the flower, the inner stamens which are introse at the tip while the outer stamens are shorter and spreading. Note that all the flowers of 'simpoh ungu' are facing the upwards position.