DixPix Photographs

     

INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 
     
  ASTERALES AND RELATIVES  

 

The Aster Family, Asteraceae, which is also known by the older name Compositae, is enormous in size. Its number of species is challenged only by the Orchids.  With many exceptions, however, it tends to prefer temperate climates, where it is famous both for its variety of weeds and of garden flowers.  It is not well represented by natives in southeast Asia, and other families of its botanical order Asterales do not fare much better.  The same can be said of Apiaceae, usually referred to as the Carrot Family.  Although large, and of culinary importance, neither it nor its order Apiales have carved out much of a foothold here in the Asian tropics.  In both cases there are, however, a few exceptions and a few imports.

 

The international calling card of the Aster Family, is the Dandelion-- well in appearance only.  Flowers like this one from well up on Mt. Kinabalu are produced by several different genera, many of which were Europeans with a knack for travel. Click to see big picture (392x480 pixels; 50 KB)
Also from alpine Kinabalu, the button flowers of Myriactis cabrerae, although some sources conifine this species to PNG.. M. javanica from the ranges of Java and Sumatra looks suspiciously similar.  The original reports from Kinabalu called this M. bellidiformis, so your choice. Click to see big picture (596x480 pixels; 61 KB)

Emilia sonchifolia is sometimes referred to as Cupid's Shaving Brush.  It is also edible, and yields a tea used to reduce fevers.  The "sonchifolia" suggests it has leaves like a sow thistle, the inner parts looking like this--

This may be a bad identification.

Click to see big picture (525x480 pixels; 73 KB)
While the outer parts flare out as seen here.  Emilia sonchifolia is native to southeast Asia, although it has now gone pan-tropical.  The most common Indonesian name seems to be Tempuh Wiyang. Click to see big picture (416x480 pixels; 77 KB)
The Creeping Daisy, Sphagneticola (alias Wedelia) trilobata is a pan-tropical invasive and ground-cover item, which will seldom admit to its origin in Central America.  It is so well naturalized in southeast Asia that it is sometimes called the Singapore Daisy. Click to see big picture (637x480 pixels; 94 KB)
Known by names such as Billygoat Weed, Ageratum conyzoides is Brazilian by nature, but was introduced early into the Indo-malaysian sphere for some unobvious reason.  This is from central Sarawak, attesting to its success as an invasive weed.  Locally it is called Bandotan, and it is used as an insecticide in some quarters. Click to see big picture (459x480 pixels; 60 KB)
One of the weeds called Mile a Minute Vine can also be blamed on the neotropics.  In fact it can only grow a few centimeters a day, but add that up.  It both smothers and chemically inhibits other species.  Mikania micrantha would be an expletive if it were easier to pronounce.  Now a pan-tropical menace. Click to see big picture (492x480 pixels; 94 KB)
A bit of a surprise to meet Hippobroma longiflora in Borneo.  Once again it is neotropical, and known as Star of Bethlehem by it admirers and as Horse Poison elsewhere.  It is of the Bell Flower Family, although they may not admit it.   For some unfathomable reason it was introduce into Indonesia in the 1800's, and is now known there as Kitolod.  A toxic weed, use gloves when trying to pull it out.  Click to see big picture (637x480 pixels; 102 KB)
The Goodeniaceae is a largely Australian family, but some of the 130 species of its Scaevola genus are more traveled.   This is S. taccada, which in English tends to go by its Hawaiian name Naupaka.  It has spread to coasts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans before botanists caught up with it and is now invasive in the Caribbean. Click to see big picture (640x465 pixels; 67 KB)
There are other species of Scaevola native to Borneo, but here on the north coast this will be S. taccada, which is locally called Ambong-ambong.  In some areas, the leaves are smoked as a tobacco, and it is used against poisons. Click to see big picture (515x480 pixels; 76 KB)
The fruit of Scaevola taccada (also called S. sericea) is as eye-catching as the flowers. Click to see big picture (575x480 pixels; 83 KB)
Switching to the Apiales, Trachymene scapigera (or T. saniculifolia) is known as Mountain Trachymene, and found at elevation in Indonesia and in parts of Australia.  It is presently in the Carrot Family, Apiaceae.but may be booted over to Araliaceae, the Ivy Family in the future. Click to see big picture (397x480 pixels; 64 KB)
Borneo's Kerosene Fruit, is so oily that it can be lit with a match and used for illumination.  Presumably Pittosporum resiniferum, which is also known as the Petroleum Nut and is being researched as a biofuel.  Native to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Click to see big picture (430x480 pixels; 83 KB)
The Octopus Tree, Schefflera (or Brassaia) actinophylla, is native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia, but has been planted widely and is invasive in Florida and Hawaii.  In some cases it starts life as a strangling epiphyte. Click to see big picture (516x480 pixels; 118 KB)

Beside its weird shape, the Octopus Tree is popular for its long-lasting crop of red fruits.  It is placed in the Ivy Family, although the resemblance may be hard to grasp.

Click to see big picture (640x393 pixels; 89 KB)
An Elderberry that is common on the lower slopes of Mt. Kinabalu.  Presumably Sambucus javanica. The genus has been tossed into the Adoxacea family, part of the Dipsacales order, whose godfather is a teasel, but it sort of belongs here gene-wise.  The locals call it Rimbundahan. Click to see big picture (640x474 pixels; 115 KB)