DixPix Photographs

     

INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 
     
  MALPIGHIALES AND KIN  

 

The Malpighiales is a botanical order which contains roughly 16,000 species.  Although within the present context, the Spurge Family, Euphorbiaceae is the most prolific; Indonesia is better known for the giant and grotesque flowers of the Rafflesiaceae.  A few other more or less related botanical orders are also included.

 

The Rafflesias are root parasites, that produce a huge flower on the forest floor. They include the world's heaviest flower, weighing in at about 10 kilograms.  This is Rafflesia pricei in the Crocker Range of Sabah. Click to see big picture (513x480 pixels; 144 KB)
With both the appearance and strong smell of rotting meat, the flower attracts flies into this central cavity for pollenation.  Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 135 KB)
Rafflesias are parasitic on the roots of vines of the Tetrastigma genus (Grape Family), an example is shown on left.  On the right is a rafflesia bud, already the size of a bowling ball. Click to see big picture (640x411 pixels; 120 KB)
When they die, the giant flowers quickly decompose into a mush, and the smell is even stronger. Click to see big picture (640x457 pixels; 161 KB)

The Euphorbiaceae is best known as the Spurge Family, although its roughly 7500 constituent species cover a wide range from rubber trees to "African cacti".

 
The Candlenut tree is also known as the Indian Almond (Aleurites moluccanus).  It is pan-tropical, and despite the reference to the Moluccas (Indonesia), its native origin is not known. Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 90 KB)
The trees are now mainly harvested for oil, but the nuts are appreciated in the cuisine of the Indonesian region, being known as Kemiri in that language and Buah Keras (hard fruit) in Malaysia.  There are also folk medicine applications. Click to see big picture (625x480 pixels; 84 KB)
This is the fruit of Glochidion littorale, which may be found on coasts from India to Indonesia.  Local names seem to include Jambu Kera, Ubah and Selunsor.  I was told that it is edible, but poisonous if taken with sugar.  Well, that's the story anyhow. Click to see big picture (538x480 pixels; 72 KB)
Cassava, also known as Manioc, Manihot esculenta, is a root vegetable that originated in the Amazon region, but is now a major crop in tropical countries.  It is said to be the third largest source of carbohydrates in the world.  Here is Suluwesi, Indonesia, it goes by the name of Singkong. Click to see big picture (640x382 pixels; 126 KB)
Acalypha hispida is more or less native to Indonesia and Malaysia, where it is known as Ekok Kucing.  It has used its odd appearance as a passport to gardens in the tropics and households elsewhere around the world, under names such as Chenille Plant and Red-hot Cat-tails.  By any name, however, it is poisonous. Click to see big picture (640x476 pixels; 121 KB)
The Rubber Tree, Hevea brasiliensis even has Brazil in its name, but most natural rubber now comes from plantations in southeast Asia.  Plantations are not possible in its home range due to a deadly blight, which has not yet found its way to Asia.  The term Para is used in Indonesia. Click to see big picture (634x480 pixels; 141 KB)
Switching to Passifloraceae, this is the white phase of the Stinking Passion Flower, Passiflora foetida.  It has long been naturalized from south America, and is known as Rambusa. Click to see big picture (564x480 pixels; 94 KB)
Both the leaves and the fruit (enclosed in these fuzz-balls) are edible, which may be why it was originally imported.  Here in Sumatra, however, it is called Ermot, and is known as a snake-bite remedy. Click to see big picture (502x480 pixels; 96 KB)
The unusual flowers of Baccaurea lanceolata.  It is native to Malaysia and western Indonesia and produces a fruit which is edible but sour, known as Asam Pohong. Click to see big picture (339x480 pixels; 81 KB)
These fruit trees in Sabah are referred to as 'wild mangostenes' which would put them in the Garcinia genus of the Clusiaceae Family.  There are several species. Click to see big picture (640x465 pixels; 132 KB)
And this oddity from the forests of central Sumatra appears to be the open fruit of Euonymus sp., a genus of the Celastraceae Family which is better known for garden plants with fancy foliage. Click to see big picture (455x480 pixels; 76 KB)
Buttercups aren't common in the Indonesia-Malaysia region, but here is Ranunculus lowii in the alpine zone of Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah. Click to see big picture (377x480 pixels; 68 KB)

Proteaceae, the Macadamia Nut Family has some 2000 species, mainly in the southern hemisphere.  It gives its name to the Proteales order, which contains some varied and unusual flowers.

 
Grevillea robusta hales from the east coast of Australia, but it has been planted and taken hold in the nearby Indonesian region.  A common English term is Silky Oak, although no relation to oak trees. Click to see big picture (406x480 pixels; 93 KB)
Beside the spectacular floral display, Grevillea is fast growing and produces good timber.  It has been widely planted in both semi-tropical and temperate zones of the world. Click to see big picture (508x480 pixels; 124 KB)
The photogenic Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is one of the best known flowers in southeast Asia.  In fact it is the national flower of both India and Vietnam. Click to see big picture (607x480 pixels; 67 KB)
It is often referred to as the Sacred Lotus, and has religious significance in Hinduism and Buddhism.  It also has many names, but here on a pond in Suluwesi it goes by the Indonesian term Seroja. Click to see big picture (631x480 pixels; 71 KB)