The Gingers of Malaysia and Borneo

The Zingiberaceae is group of plants commonly known as “ginger”. It is a prominent component of tropical floras throughout the world with the center of distribution in SE Asia. The species richness of Bornean gingers is quite high as the greatest concentration of genera and species is in the Malesian region (Indonesia, Malaysia, the island of Borneo, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

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The Gingers of Kinabalu Park in Sabah

The center of diversity for the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, is the Indo-Malayan region with approximately 160 species occurring in Peninsular Malaysia. Borneo is still insufficiently known and under explored for gingers but may have more species than Peninsular Malaysia. One genus, Burbidgea, is not known to occur outside of Borneo. Geanthus was another genus found only in Borneo but now is included in the genus Etlingera.

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Nepenthes rajah from Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah

Carnivorous plants are fascinating in that they capture and digest various prey in order to accumulate nutrients for growth. The habitats where they normally occur are nutrient poor. There are many species of carnivorous plants and they are found throughout the world. Of the seven genera of Pitcher plants, the Nepenthes genus is the largest found from Northern Australia throughout Southeast Asia to Southern China. There are also some species found in India, Madagascar, and a few other islands.

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Cauliflory: Flowers that Bloom on Tree Trunks

One of the most striking botanical sights in a tropical forest is a tree trunk covered with flowers or fruit. Even a single flower will stand out on a stark wooden trunk. Cauliflory is a condition found in trees and woody vines where flowers and fruit are borne directly on the trunks and older branches. Many different plant families are known for cauliflory.

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A Brief History on Rubber Tapping in Malaysia

Rubber tapping is the process by which natural rubber (gum rubber) is collected. There are many species of trees that can be tapped for rubber; some of the more common species are Gutta-Percha (Palaquium gutta), rubber fig (Ficus elastica), Jelutong (Dyera costulata), Panama rubber (Castilla elastica), various spurges (Euphorbia species), and Guayule (Parthenium argentatum).

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The Geography and Brief History of Malaysia

The geography of Malaysia has been fundamental in the development of the rich and varied history of this resource-abundant country. At a strategic crossroads between the Eastern and Western worlds, the Malay Peninsula separates the Indian Ocean from the South China Sea.  Since ancient times merchants and foreign cultures have been attracted to this land to conduct business and trade.

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