DixPix Photographs

     

INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 
     
  ERICALES, THE HEATH ORDER  

 

Ericales is a botanical order, named for the Heath Family, Ericaceae.  This is an important family, with roughly 70 genera and some 2000 species.  Many of these are adapted to acid soils and to alpine habitats, and their flagship genus in floral displays are the Rhododendrons.  In southeast Asia, these belong to a division of the genus known as Vireya Rhododendrons which are extremely varied and widespread, especially on the mountains.  There is an excellent website devoted to these at Vireya Net.

Some examples from other families within the Ericales order are also presented here, as well as one from the closely related Cornales order.

 

Above timberline, high on Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo, Rhododendron ericoides is a welcome display of color.  It looks like a cross between a rhododendron and a heather. Click to see big picture (507x480 pixels; 101 KB)
Somewhat lower, in the upper forests, this is likely Rhododendron buxifolium. Click to see big picture (628x480 pixels; 90 KB)
While Rhododendron rugosum lends color the the middle levels of the mountain forest. Click to see big picture (590x480 pixels; 111 KB)
The famous 'golden rhodos' of Mt. Kinabalu are largely the work of Rhododendron lowii, which can be found almost up to timberline. Click to see big picture (495x480 pixels; 89 KB)
A closer look at the flowers of R. lowii. Click to see big picture (618x480 pixels; 92 KB)
While at the lower levels of the mountains, this is likely Rhododendron retivenium. Click to see big picture (531x480 pixels; 75 KB)
This example from near the Mesilau Sanctuary in Sabah appears to be Rhododendron crassifolium, but classification is complicated in this whole region by natural hybridization.  Click to see big picture (487x480 pixels; 102 KB)
A white-flowering bush from the lower levels of Kinabalu Park. Click to see big picture (565x480 pixels; 115 KB)
This is Rhododendron javanicum subsp. brookeanum, which is to be found at moderate elevations in both Sabah and Sarawak, but in this case is in exile at University of Berkeley Botanical Gardens. Click to see big picture (360x480 pixels; 98 KB)
The yellow form of Rhododendron javanicum subsp. javanicum is at home on the mountains from Sumatra to Bali, but is here showing off at the KEW gardens. Click to see big picture (584x480 pixels; 69 KB)
And while at the KEW, this is Rhododendron carringtoniae from the mountains of Papua New Guinea. Click to see big picture (600x480 pixels; 74 KB)
Rhododendron aurigeranum is a child of Papua New Guinea, but is here caught vacationing in Hawaii.
As the name would suggest, Rhododendron malayanum is found in Malaysia, but also in western parts of Indonesia.  UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens. Click to see big picture (640x460 pixels; 103 KB)
Rhododendron celebicum.  I missed this when visiting its home turf in northern Suluwesi, but here it is representing Indonesia as an epiphyte in the botanical gardens at the University of Berkeley.
Back to the alpine zone on Mt. Kinabalu.  The flaming red new leaves mark this as Stapf's Vaccinium (Vaccinium stapfianum). Click to see big picture (450x480 pixels; 94 KB)
And while in that zone, the frosty-colored leaves make this a striking shrub, and while I have no identification, in looks like it may be a heath. Click to see big picture (289x480 pixels; 86 KB)
Again from Kinabalu area, two unidentified shrubs with heather-like bell flowers. whitebells
Styphelia suaveolens, which graces mountains from Malaysia to Australia, started as an Epacridaceae, but that entire family has now been shoveled into the heaths. Click to see big picture (474x480 pixels; 59 KB)
An example of the Saurauia genus of flowering shrubs and trees.  It is a member of the Kiwi Fruit Family, Actinidiaceae. Click to see big picture (454x480 pixels; 57 KB)

The Impatiens Family by some counts may have as many as 1000 species, all but one in the genus Impatiens-- so why is it called the Balsaminaceae?  Anyhow, between garden and house flowers and countless cultivars, they need little in the way of introduction.

 
Impatiens are fairly common in the mountain rain forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, but only an expert can tell them apart. Click to see big picture (504x480 pixels; 92 KB)
Another species, same flower, different leaves.

Click to see big picture (506x480 pixels; 86 KB)

Impatiens hawkeri is reported to have been the first of its species to have jumped from New Guinea into world gardens.  Now it has been tweaked into many colors, and only the leaves hold some memory.
Sea Poison (Barringtonia asiatica) is a tree native to the coasts of the Indian Ocean and southeast Asia.  It belongs to the Lecythidaceae or Brazil Nut Family.  The flowers are pollinated by moths at night and fall next morning. Click to see big picture (600x480 pixels; 163 KB)
Sea Poison fruit are oddly square, giving the alternate name of Box Fruit.  These float and are ocean-dispersed like coconuts.  All parts are poison, and the powdered seeds are used to stun fish.  The local name is Putat laut. Click to see big picture (640x465 pixels; 93 KB)

The Myrsinaceae is sometimes known as the Colicwood Family.  Its roughly 1000 species of shrubs and trees are widely scattered in both tropical and temperate climates.

 
Known in English as the Shoebutton Tree, Ardisia elliptica is native from India to Papua New Guinea, and in Indonesia is known as Mata Pelanduk.  It has found some use in traditional medicine and is invasive in a few areas outside of its native range. Click to see big picture (537x480 pixels; 92 KB)
Ardisia crenata is an Asian bush which has been imported into the USA and elsewhere due to its bright berries.  It has proved widely invasive.  Names include Coral Berry and Hen's Eyes. Click to see big picture (640x395 pixels; 100 KB)
Some authorities include the Myrsinaceae in the Primrose or Primulaceae Family.  Definitely belonging, is Primula prolifera from the mountains of southeast Asia.  In gardening circles it is known as Amber Candelabra Primrose. Click to see big picture (381x480 pixels; 81 KB)
Theaceae is a small family, known mainly for the tea plant, but returning to the subalpine zone on Mt. Kinabalu, it is difficult not to notice Schima brevifolia. Click to see big picture (640x450 pixels; 92 KB)
Here is a closer look at both the flower and fruit of Schima brevifolia. Click to see big picture (640x360 pixels; 84 KB)
The Cornales is a botanical order closely related to the Ericales, and out of its Hydrangea Family comes these blue berries of Dichroa sp. This is an Indonesian species, but here resides at the University of Berkeley Botanical Gardens. Click to see big picture (424x480 pixels; 80 KB)