New Dipterocarp Species Planted in the Garden

New Dipterocarp Species Planted in the Garden

There are new Dipterocarp plants in the garden.

Here are some information about them:

Dipterocarpus rigidis is a large emergent tree to 50m tall; local name is keruing cogan, the shape of the leaf suggests the broad spear head (cogan) seen on Malay crests. It is found on the east coast of the peninsula, in particular on hills around Kemaman.  It also occurs in Riau, Linggi, Borneo and the Anambas Islands.

Hopea apiculata, locally known as resak melukut, is a species endemic in the Kenas and Manong valleys in Perak, and on Bukit Long, Kelantan.  The leaf is very like Neobalanocarpus heimii, and can be distinguished only by the ripple marks in the wood of H. apiculata.

Hopea helferi, locally called lintah bukit, is found in Langkawi and the northwest of the peninsula, and in Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and the Andamans.

Shorea leptoderma, a synonym for Shorea scrobiculata, or balau sengkawang, is a species of the Malay peninsula and Borneo, now critically endangered by habitat conversion (think oil palm) and logging.

Shorea peltata, known locally as meranti telepok because the leaves are peltate like the lotus, is found in eastern Sumatra, Borneo, and only in Johor in the peninsula in the Mersing Forest Reserve.  It is classified as critically endangered by habitat conversion.

Shorea resinosa, meranti belang, referring to the stripes of the laminated inner bark.  It is widely distributed but rare through Sumatra, the peninsula, and Borneo.  This is another species critically endangered by habitat conversion.

Shorea siamensis, is known as temak batu, and occurs only in Langkawi in Semenanjung.  Elsewhere it is found in Burma, Indochina and Thailand.  It is common in the dry deciduous Dipterocarp forests of Myanmar.  The species is well adapted to adverse conditions and may do well with climate change.  It establishes a long tap root on germination and is deciduous in dry periods.

Shorea superba or selangan batu, is endemic to Borneo and is a vast emergent tree up to 75m tall with a bole 3m in diameter!  It is preserved in some national parks, but elsewhere is endangered by land conversion.

Vatica cinerea, or resak laut, is usually a small tree on rocky headlands and exposed ridges, only occurring in Semenanjung in Kedah, Perlis and Langkawi.  Elsewhere it occurs in southern Vietnam and Cambodia, and peninsular Thailand.  It is one of the few Dipterocarps that thrive in an exposed location.

Panagiotis Spiliotis

Panagiotis Spiliotis

Panagiotis Spiliotis (b.1991) is a Greek and Irish trained botanist and plant ecologist based in his hometown of Brussels. After graduating from his Master’s degree in plant taxonomy from the University of Edinburgh in 2015, took some time away from studies to pursue other interests and goals, and develop abilities and skills not often associated with academia, including landscaping, carpentry and sales of high end luxury chocolate.  

After three years of successful employment in different industries, he traveled to Malaysia to undertake a large botanically themed project here in Rimbun Dahan. Other than pure taxonomy and systematics, his main area of interest in his discipline is ex-situ conservation of endangered species, focusing on how botanic gardens and conservation sites can manage, sustain and maximise the positive impact they can have on fighting the ongoing crisis of extinction caused by anthropogenic habitat loss and the destruction of our biotope.

 He is a firm believer that any botanic garden and ex-situ site plays two fundamental roles in any given culture and society, a) a pedagogic one, b) an agent of conservation for endangered species. They have to conserve what is going out, and they have to tell and teach people about it. In Rimbun Dahan you can find approx. 2000 trees, with more than 600 species of plants, many of which are critically endangered and cannot be found in any other location.

During his stay in Rimbun Dahan for the next couple of months as a resident botanist, Pan will be cataloging and recording all the species of plants, figuring out which ones need more attention, help establish the necessary course of action needed to maintain and propagate them, while documenting the whole process in a rich and easy format to be used for education. It’s about giving out the necessary tools and knowledge to make plant conservation a personal responsibility, while showing that not only is it easily done, but is also probably the most effective long term course of action!

 We are all connected to each other, more than ever before, and all it takes is some time and patience to actually make a significant contribution. A bag of soil, a couple of seeds, the preservation of a species. He would like to show that, while using Rimbun Dahan as a great example of the potential this sort of management and philosophy to plant conservation can truly achieve.

Barred Eagle Owl

Barred Eagle Owl

Yesterday, our staff found this dying Barred Eagle Owl on the ground near the front compound.

“The barred eagle-owl (Bubo sumatranus), also called the Malay eagle-owl, is a species of owl in the family Strigidae. It is a member of the large genus Bubo which is distributed on most of the world’s continents. This relatively little-known species is found from the southern Malay Peninsula down a string of several of the larger southeast Asian islands to as far as Borneo.” – wikipedia

It looked like it ate a poisonous or poisoned animal and subsequently poisoned itself. We at Rimbun Dahan are against poisoning rodents (we choose to catch and humanely kill them) to avoid affecting their natural predators like the owl or other animals in the vicinity. It is also possible that this one accidentally ate a poisonous animal or snake.

We do have several Barred Eagle Owl nests in Rimbun Dahan but they seldom hatch more than a couple of chicks at one time and they can be quite frail and vulnerable creatures growing up.

“This species probably pairs for life. Barred eagle-owls seems to be very attached to a particular nesting site. If not disturbed, they will occupy the same territory for several years and, if one partner dies, the surviving mate will maintain the same territory with another owl parent. This species nests either in large tree cavities or, in Java and Sumatra, on top of the large fern Asplenium nidus.” – wikipedia

This beautiful female was buried yesterday after it died but we hope nothing tragic happens to its family.

Kemian Hitam

Kemian Hitam

Our staff found some lumps of kemian hitam, a type of aromatic resin that came from the rotting wood of Canarium littorale or kedondong bulan which had been struck by lightning a while ago. Half of the tree was killed and rotting on the ground.

 

Kemian Hitam from the rotting wood of a C. littorale

 

The resin has a very nice fragrance when burned. According to the Internet it is also associated with occult practices: it may be used to summon “makhluk halus alam bawahan, Jin Tanah, Jin Pokok, Jin Batu dan yang sebangsa dengannya.” A comment on our facebook post claims that kemian hitam is used in smoking and cleaning woven textile such as songket, limar and kelingkam by suspending the cloth on a rack of netting and smoking kemian beneath it. This method is thought to kill bugs that may feed on the textile as well as get rid of mold.

Shorea materialis

Shorea materialis

In April, we had a massive flowering of Shorea materialis, commonly called “balau pasir“, on one of several huge trees planted in the early 90s. Now we have a crop of tens of thousands of seedlings carpeting the ground.

Norsham Yaakob has already taken over a thousand to grow on at FRIM.

Snake Tales

Snake Tales

Rimbun Dahan can be paradise for snakes… or the last thing a snake ever sees. This month, one lucky python was hauled out of the hen house and taken away to a new home, but things didn’t turn out so well for a cobra which strayed near the main house.

Monocled Cobra Killed by Dogs

Monocled Cobra Killed by Dogs

The Rimbun Dahan dogs cornered this small specimen in a drain and dispatched it, but not before it reared, displaying the diagnostic cobra’s hood. The single circular marking on the back of the head identifies it as the Monocled Cobra, Naja naja kaouthia, a venomous snake which is fairly common, occuring in a range of habitats, including those impacted by humans, and usually feeding on rodents.