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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:48 pm 
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Thanks for the wealth of photography information there, Rogier. I also have a Nikon, only a little D60 though and recently discovered the benefits of flash photography, although only with the pop-up on-board flash, but it still makes a huge difference. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:18 pm 
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Good evening Rogier.
I'm begining to like a lot Nepenthes.....and that Rhododendron is wonderful....

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:35 pm 
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Thanks for the update Rogier. I'm facinated by the conifer, I've never seen anything like it. I would if it may be cold tolerant? In that case it may be of interest to gardeners in this country and we're always after hardy exotics :lol:

There seems to be an endless variety of different pitchers, and they're all beautiful. I imagine that if prey misses one, it'll fall victim to another nearby.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:44 pm 
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I live in: Netherlands • Nederland
My nearest city or region is: Utrecht
Thanks for the reactions.

@Pharfignewton. The popup flash works well but the effect is much better when you use a omni bounce to cover the flash. It reduces the strong reflections.

@nurseryman I think you will love this next post. It's full with Nepenthes and also has a ridiculous rhododendron in it :D

@Wahaj. I doubt if this Phyllocladus is hardy in the UK. It may get some frost in nature but that's only late at night. However there are some species native to New Zealand and Tasmania. Phyllocladus asplenifolius, P. toatoa and trichomanoides. I bet that some of these are reasonably hardy (especially the first one). Now how to get one!!! I have searched for them but they seem to be unavailable.
I heard that one species is grown at a pinetum (botanical garden for conifers) nearby. So I must check that out one day

The yourney continues

The original plan was to wake up at two o clock in the morning to continue climbing and finally reach the summit of Mt. Kinabalu. However we decided not to do that as first of all we mostly came for the flora and there isn't much vegetation on the top but mostly because the weather was so bad it was actually dangerous to climb it.
The reason to go all the way to the top is mostly because of the view. But with all the clouds around, the view would be just as good on the toilet
So we stayed in the hotel and after breakfast and some wild raspberries we started going down.

First thing I wanted to see and photograph was the Nepenthes villosa.
Nepenthes villosa is in my opinion one of the most beautiful species. It is a true highland species as it grows around 3000 meters above sea level. It's endemic to the Kinabalu national park growing only on Mt. Kinabalu and nearby Mt. Tambuyukon.
The species is not very rare and we had seen several plants the day before when we where going up. However since my camera had problems and it was getting dark already I hoped for some better weather and a working camera the next morning.
And that was the case!
Image

In the areas where N. villosa grows together with N. rajah you can sometimes find their natural hybrid Nepenthes x. kinabaluensis.
This plant combines the bright colours of the villosa with the immense size on the rajah.
In overall shape it's a perfect blend between the two.
Image

On these pictures you cannot tell very well how large these pitchers are. So Hali held one of the pitchers up to show the size.
Image

Nepenthes plants are either male or female. The N. x kinabaluensis plant was flowering.
Image
By looking at the flowers you could tell that this plant is a male as the flowers have no ovary and produce pollen

This altitude is also the home of a unique Coelogye. This C. papillosa is a terrestrial species perfectly adapted to the ultramafic soil. It's no surprise that these species is endemic here
Image
Image
The plants do not look like typical orchids. They are almost a meter tall with thin erect flower spikes which gives the plant an odd look for a Coelogyne. I'm not sure if this specie sis in culture or not but it would be a good attribution. But I bet it's a tough plant to grow judging from where it's from.

Rhododendrons are abundant. In all colours except blue. Here it was a real shame that my camera didn't work properly as I would have loved to take pictures of all these species.
This one I managed to get a photo of.
Image
It's Rhododendrom lowii. A very famous species and for most people the most spectacular species. The size alone is reason enough.
A flower head as pictures as large as a football.
I'm not a huge fan of bombastic an orange flowers but I have to admit that they are indeed spectacular.

An odd bulbless Epigeneium that was flowering above the track.
Image

Hali told me later that there was a very rare nepenthes to be seen. But you had to go off the track for a bit to see it.
It was Nepenthes x. harryana, A natural cross between N. villosa and N. edwardsiana. This last one only grows on places that are more than day trip so that is something for another time. But at least we have seen it's natural hybrid.
Image
This pitcher has some frog eggs inside. You can see them in the left upper corner.

Common in the area is Nepenthes tentaculata. In the previous post this species was also shown but the following two pictures show the differences between the lower and upper pitchers of this small species.

These are the lower pitchers.
Image

And these the upper ones.
Image
You can sometimes find both on one plant.

The hike down was nothing compared to the hike up. This was mostly because we took the shorter track down. When we where at Amrin and Hali's home again we decided to go to the Poring Hotsprings. These are volcanic springs not far from Mesilou.

I just took of my shoes and wanted to put them on again when Hali said.

"why don't you just use my slippers. Because it's only a small walk from the car to the springs"

Good idea!!. The slippers where to small for my feet but that didn't matter.

On the drive to Poring we made a stop as a sign near the gate of a local farm said.

"The Rafflesia is flowering!!"

Holy $#!%!!. That's is a coincidence. The Rafflesia (keithii) is a rare parasitic plant that grows inside the root system of a local grape relative. So now and then flower buds are formed.
Only very few of these survive the many month long development to a maturity after which they unfold into one of the largest single flowers in the world that only last about 3 days.

So seeing a Rafflesia keithii in bloom is a chance not to be missed.

We asked the people of the arm if they could show us the plant. It was flowering in a patch of forest behind the farm where this plant was growing wild. (this plant cannot be kept in cultivation)
So we had to walk a while.

This walk turned out to be a great adventure as I was still wearing the small slippers of Hali.
After some slides down a steep road and some very interesting and very small bamboo bridges we witnessed a magnificent Rafflesia in full bloom
Image
Wow!!

A perfect ending to our visit to Borneo. We flew back to Peninsular Malaysia where we spend our last days in the tropics enjoying the weather. (At that moment the temperature differences where 40 degrees Celsius.)

Next time Kuala Lumpur and the nearby Genting Highlands. The last part of this series.

Regards

Rogier

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:20 am 
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:!: :shock: Rafflesia :shock: :!:
Definately worth a hike in slippers! Hell, I'd even walk in high heels for a chance to see one! keithii looks like a beauty too. How big was the Tetrastigma it was growing on and do you have any idea what species it was?

Have to agree with you about Nepenthes villosa, a real favourite (along with N.bicalcarata with its comedy vampire fangs)

Thanks again. Such a treat. Great photos & storytelling - I think we should have a whip round and send you somewhere else for another report! Did you think about getting all this bound into a book? A friend at work just showed me a one off from a trip he made to Japan in February & I think for something as special as this, it's really worth doing.

Cheers!

Craig


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:37 am 
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I live in: United Kingdom (Scotland)
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I am so much enjoying my virtual trip to Malaysia through your excellently illustrated posts. Thank you very much for the time and effort you have put into it Rogier.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:43 am 
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Good morning Rogier.
From beautiful Coelogynes, Rhododendron's to a stunning Rafflessia flower......sigh......and an elegant looking Nepenthes tentaculata flowers..... AND frogs egg!.. :mrgreen: ...oh yes, frogs!!..... :roll: .....wonderful to 'walk' in your foot steps.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Thanks again!!

@ Craig. Yes the Rafflesia is worth any effort. And when you think back the slippers made the hike only more memorable in a good way.
Sadly it was not clear which of the many stems and trunks belonged to what. I could not tell which one was the tertrastigmo so I'm uncertain how big it was.
I see your point. How big does it need to be to sow a rafflesia on?? I had the same idea. I find it rather weird that no one has succeeded growing a Rafflesia in a greenhouse. many other parasites like dodders and broomrapes are easy to grow (even in a pot)

Well we finally came to the last part.

After our arrival in Kuala Lupur we stayed some days in this city. It's a large city but nevertheless rather spacious and not overly crowded. Not a bad place to be (compared to other cities)
The main tourist attraction must be the Petronas Twin Towers
Image
With their 452 meters they are the talles identical buildings in the world and are on the 5th place of tallest buildings in general of the world.

Of course we had to see teh towers from the inside aswell. The bridge connecting the two is open to a limited number of people per day
This is the view from that bridge
Image

The park seen from the towers
Image

The park seen from ground level. This picture is made from the bridge over the lake you can also see on the picture above.
Image

To our great surprise there where even some wild orchids growing on the trees in the park. Unfortunately they where not flowering but they where easily identifyable as Dendrobium crumenatum
On the background you see one of the towers again.
Image

Not far from Kuala Lumpur you can find the Genting Highlands with as highest peak Gunung Ulu-Kali.

This mountain is because of it's location close to the capital and because of it's cool crisp mountain air a popular tourist destination and therefore transformed into a a large casino/shopping mall/theme park complex but still has some nice nature left around this circus and in these woods live interesting plants as Nepenthes ramispina.
When we arived by Cable Car we alreday where inside the shopping mall and it was quite a challenge to get out of the complex. When we asked people for the exit they looked at us as if whe where completely bonkers. Who wants to go outside to look for plants when you can spend all your money on gambling.
Eventually we found our way out trough a Hotel and headed towards the summit

Soon we saw the first nepenthes plants. Among them the N. ramispina that we did not see before

Here you see a young plant with lower pitchers
Image

And these are the higher pitchers of a mature plant
Image

Also common here are Nepenthes macfarlanei and N. sanguinea but I already took enough pictures of those.
Except this odd colour form of sanguinea.
Image


There where many orchids around but most where not in bloom or out of reach for a decent photo (especially with a camera that only wants to work now and then).
This Spathoglottis aurea is very common and we did see hundreds maybe even thousands of plant on our travels trough malaysia but this flower is teh only one we have seen open.
All the other ones where either pollinated or cleistogamous.
Image

The alst days we spent on the beach and in the historic town Melaka. Our Jungle trekking was over and after a great trip it was time to head back to a cold and frosty Europe :(

For the people that still haven't got enough of these pictures or want to see the pictures in a better quality is here teh link to my newest album on my online photopage. The album Malaysia.
http://www.pbase.com/rogiervanvugt/malaysia
Please click on "original" below the picture sfor the best quality of the photo..

In this album you'll find all the pictures that I've shown you in the post above plus many more

Thanks all for virtually joining me on this trip

Rogier

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:36 am 
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Good morning Rogier.
It has been a wonderfull trek.... 8-) ....I will miss 'my' adventure's.... :( .....but can always return to them and follow your lead again. Many thanks indeed.....so when's your next trip?....and where :roll: ....too pushy? :?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:52 am 
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A marvellous trip that I thoroughly enjoyed following. Thank you again Rogier. It is great to be able to look back at it all too and dream that I've been there too! ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:38 am 
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I've really enjoyed this thread. I hope it inspired other members to posty their travel expericnes in similar way! :-D

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:49 am 
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reading all of your trips has really inspired me to visit these places! seriously considering going to malaysia, Thailand and borneo. looking to go next year hopefully :) thankyou so much for your report. it truly is amazing! :mrgreen:

orchids in the wild here i come!!! :dance:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:29 am 
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:) Thank you for this beautiful thread, Rogier.
:) I wish one day I meet you in Asia...I would learn a lot from you!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:39 pm 

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Ohhhhhh - that was - IS - amazing. Just found my way to this wonderful thread while searching how to deal with images of cut off wild orchids in the spanish orchids forum. Thanks Rogier for this wonderful insight to place I'll never go!
Regards
Fer


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