DixPix Photographs

     

INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 
     
  ROSALES AND KIN  

 

The botanical order Rosales is named for the Rose Family, Rosaceae.  Unlike most botanical groupings however, the roses are mainly native to temperate climates rather than the tropics, where many species are only comfortable at altitude.  On the other hand, the Fig Family, Moraceae, is of considerable importance throughout the tropics, and its genes have recently dumped it into the Rosales.  In addition, some examples from Cucurbitaceae are appended.  This is known as the Melon or Gourd family, and is of an order closely related to Rosales. 

 

From high on the slopes of Mt. Kinabalu, this appears to be Rubus lineatus, a wild alpine raspberry that is also found in the Himalayas. Click to see big picture (640x383 pixels; 104 KB)
There are some 250 species in the Rubus genus, but lineatus is fairly distinctive in having a palmate leaf arrangement and hairy fruit. Click to see big picture (640x446 pixels; 99 KB)
Another Rubus from lower on Kinabalu.  This one has more or less 'cauliflorous' fruit, in that they grow out of a woody stem. Click to see big picture (640x397 pixels; 88 KB)
From the Mesilau Sanctuary near Kinabalu, the flower of Rubus fraxinifolius.  This species in native to southeastern Asia. Click to see big picture (640x404 pixels; 78 KB)
Stranvaesia (or Photinia) davidiana is another southeast Asian which grows on the lower slopes of Kinabalu.  Now, however, it also graces gardens through much of the warmer parts of the world, a bush appreciated for both its flowers and for these bright berries. Click to see big picture (561x480 pixels; 109 KB)
Above the timberline on Kinabalu, this appears to be Potentilla polyphylla var. Kinabaluensis.  Other varieties of the species are found on heights across southeast Asia. Click to see big picture (564x480 pixels; 111 KB)
Urticacaceae, the Nettle Family, is also under the Rosales order, but few of the roughly 2600 species do much to attact a camera.  Again from Sabah, this is likely Cypholophus brunneolus of the Lopleaf genus. cypholophus

The Moraceae is known as either the Fig Family or the Mulberry Family.  There are some 850 species of figs, collected in the Ficus genus, and fig trees are known in general in Indonesia as Pokok Ara.  They are a weird bunch.  Flowers tend to be minute in clusters which are collectively enclose within the future compound fruit and fertilized by ficus wasps that burrow their way in.   Most ficus fruit are edible, but few are utilized except locally.

 

 
The Banyan Tree, Ficus benghalensis, originated on the Indian subcontinent, where it has great religious significance. The odd form comes from many aerial roots which drop from branches to form subsidiary stems. Known as Pokok Bo, it is on the Indonesian coat of arms symbolizing how many roots (islands, peoples) collect as one.  Some of those in the grips of Javan rule might recall that this is a strangler fig. Click to see big picture (572x480 pixels; 121 KB)
The Common Fig, which is grown as food, originated in the Mediterranean and western Asia region, but is cultivated in Indonesia and elsewhere.  The latin handle is Ficus carica. Click to see big picture (615x480 pixels; 111 KB)
The Cluster Fig Tree, Ficus racemosa, is found from India to Australia, and one of the more commonly encountered.  Although edible, the fruit tend to be full of ficus wasps, and so few bother.  Click to see big picture (491x480 pixels; 109 KB)
Many figs are 'cauliflorous', meaning that the flowers and fruit grow directly from trunks or woody stems.  Here are two unidentified examples, which may or may not be figs. Click to see big picture (634x480 pixels; 118 KB)
There are several species of Strangler Figs.  Most of these start out as an epiphyte on some tree branch, but they drop aerial roots, and gradually entwine their host. Click to see big picture (513x480 pixels; 144 KB)
Finally the strangler completely engulfs the victim tree, which dies. Click to see big picture (325x480 pixels; 98 KB)
As the dead tree rots out, it typically leaves a circular hole up through the Strangler Fig.  It is sometimes possible to take a flash photo up these huge tubes as in the Borneo case on the right, but beware of annoying any inhabitants Click to see big picture (640x449 pixels; 134 KB)
It is the trunk of the Upas Tree that is important.  Antiaris toxicaria is locally known as Ipoh or Beumu.  The sap is used to poison arrows, blowpipe darts, etc.  Oddly? in Java it was used against mental illness.  But the inner bark was also the source of a fabric, from which comes the name Bark Cloth Tree, although other species are also used in this fashion.  Native from Africa to Australia. Click to see big picture (623x480 pixels; 104 KB)
The gashes in this trunk of Artocarpus elasticus were made to collect the sticky sap, used as a glue to trap birds and small mammals.  The fruit and roots are reported to be edible.  Bendo in Indonesian, Terap Togop in Malaysia. Click to see big picture (358x480 pixels; 99 KB)

A more famous Artocarpus, is the Breadfruit, A. altilis; but if it has spines on the fruit it may well be the Breadnut, A. camansi.  You might have to cut it open to find out.  Breadnut has seeds, breadfruit doesn't, being an ancient cultivar, usually propagated by root cuttings.

Click to see big picture (640x427 pixels; 142 KB)
The fruit starts out as a spath with as many as 2000 minute flowers.  These are bat-pollinated and will join to form the compound fruit. Click to see big picture (586x480 pixels; 129 KB)
It is likely that Breadnut originated in the New Guinea region, and that the seedless Breadfruit was developed there across centuries of cultivation. Click to see big picture (431x480 pixels; 88 KB)
A classic, mature Breadfruit will look like this.  Artocarpus altilis is the staple crop on some Pacific Islands, and has been planted around the tropics.  Sukun is the usual name in Indonesia and Malaysia. Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 110 KB)
Jackfruit, Artocarpus heterophyllus, is pegged as the world's largest free-hanging fruit.  It is Asian in origin and known in Bahasa as Nangka.  It may be eaten cooked or raw, the latter is like a fibrous lemon-banana mixture.  It is now grown widely in the tropics and considered invasive in parts of Brazil. Click to see big picture (589x480 pixels; 121 KB)
Jackfruit has been cultivated for thousands of years, and the wood of its tree is used to make certain musical instruments.  This is a closer look.  If the external polygons are hexagonal rather than pentagonal, an elongated fruit is likely Chempedak, rather than Jackfruit.

Click to see big picture (346x480 pixels; 93 KB)

Moraceae is also known as the Mulberry Family. This is the White Mulberry, Morus alba, famous as the preferred food of the silk worm.  It is Chinese in origin, but now widely planted.  The fruit is edible and also used to make a wine. mulberry

Cucurbitaceae is usually known as the Gourd or Melon Family, although the name is more directly associated with cucumbers.  It gives this name to the botanical order Cucurbitales, which is closely related to the Rosales.  The family contains about 125 genera and almost a thousand species.  Many are vines with compound leaves, and they include several important food crops, especially in temperate regions.

 
Flowers of the Bitter Melon, Momordica charantia, decorate a vine which seems to have spread around the tropics before botanists could pin down its origin.  Indonesians call it Peria. Click to see big picture (624x480 pixels; 117 KB)
The fruit is edible, but considered the most bitter of all.  It has been used for a variety of folk medicine applications, including malaria and diabetes.  When ripe, the melon opens to release bright red seeds. Click to see big picture (640x440 pixels; 105 KB)
The flower of pan-tropical Luffa cylindrica, known in Malaysia as Petola.  The fruit is eaten as a vegetable in Asia and Africa, and the cleaned Xylem mass is widely used as a sponge. Click to see big picture (640x436 pixels; 129 KB)
Found in a Sumatran jungle, this is likely one of many forms of the Bottle Gourd, Lagenaria siceraria.  It has been cultivated since ancient times in Asia and Africa, to be hollowed out as a container.  It is known as Labu Air in Indonesia and Labu Parang in Malaysia. Click to see big picture (412x480 pixels; 83 KB)
Another encounter in the wilds of central Sumatra.  This has all the marks of a Cucurbitaceae and the locals called it Kondor, but I have not been able to identify it. Click to see big picture (628x480 pixels; 99 KB)
Although they may look very different, the Begonias, with their asymmetric leaves, are of the same botanical order as the Cucurbitaceae.  Alas, there are some 1500 species in the Begonia genus, so this classical example from part way up Mt. Kinabalu will remain unidentified. begonia
On the other hand, this colorful example from the nearby Mesilau Sanctuary looks a lot like Begonia bracteata, which is known from the general region. begonia