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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Phaleria capitata - A Rare Plant ?

Have you seen this flower or plant before?

Update: The secret has been revealed ! - see comments.

The flowers look like Jasmine while the fruits are red like berries and they grow from the smooth branches and tree trunk!

There is not much information available, so I hope you can help me.

Scientific name: Phaleria capitata
Common name: ???
Family: Thymeleaceae
Origin: South East Asia
Photographs taken at The Secret Garden of 1-Utama

Red berries attached to the tree trunk. Maybe these are poisonous and used by the Orang Asli (aborigines of the land)???

Some sources of information says the plant is from Sumatra, Indonesia while others report that it is found in Central Celebes, Sulawesi, New Guinea, Philippines and Borneo. Some even call it 'gora hutan' and 'gaharu buaya' (crocodile agarwood) in malay but it may not be the correct common name.

The flowers are hemaphrodite* and emerge directly from the branch. Where's the flower stalk?

This evergreen shrub is grown at the rooftop Secret Garden of 1-Utama by Dr. Francis Ng, who had won the David Fairchild Award for botanical exploration 2009.


* hemaphrodite - bisexual or perfect flowers that have both male and female reproductive structures

My post today is dedicated to Mr Costas Tzagaratas from Greece of Nature Digital blog. His latest post is featuring beautiful spring flowers.

This is my entry for Today's Flowers #89. To view other participants around the world, click here.

41 comments:

  1. Hi again, The flowers sure do look like Jasmine. Thx for introducing this plant. I quite liked the RED berries on the trunk. They look as if they have been artificially glued. Informative blog!

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  2. Sorry Autumn Belle, I can't help ... this is a new plant to me. It does the most beautiful flowers and such a strange way of flowering directly from the branch. Thanks for sharing all these great photos of a very unusual plant.

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  3. Hmm... Very interesting! I love things that are different.

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  4. The blooms look lovely! An Asian beauty! Never heard of it before in India!

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  5. Wow that is an interesting plant. Very pretty but I have never heard of it. Sorry I can't help with this one.

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  6. Wow! Lovely flowers! I have never seen such a plant.

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  7. Doesn't it look like the hair clip the Nyonyas used to wear on their heads?? This rare flower is a beauty.

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  8. Dear Autumn Belle, I do of course adore white flowers so these are bound to be a success with me. Lovely.

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  9. I feel taht is a rare plant that gives wonderfull flowers,....I have visited many Botanical garden, but did not find it one like that.
    congrats
    have a nice sunday
    graceolsson.com/blog

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  10. This is so new to me aswell Autumnbelle - those berries look incredible as they grown from the trunk of the tree. The only other name I can see on the internet to do with this plant is the word "Jack". I think you have come across something quite rare indeed.

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  11. Very unusual for flowers to spring from the main stem directly. Haven't a clue what it is except - very pretty.

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  12. It's new to me but hey! I live in Canada. lol

    Beautiful and exotic.

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  13. The first photos were like cacao... I'm not sure .. but they look so grand ...

    The Cosmos
    Remains of the old Dabaw
    TV above my coffee

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  14. I am not sure what they are, but you made soem lovely captures of them, thanks for sharing them Autumn:)

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  15. How interesting and what a beautiful flower, thanks for sharing.

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  16. Never seen this plant before, perhaps Andrea can help you. She has a very wide knowledge of plants. ANDREEEEEEEEA...... WHERE ARE YOU?

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  17. I don't think I have ever seen these, I know I would have remembered. The exotic tones are gorgeous.

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  18. aloha,

    very beautiful flowers, i love the stunning white spray, it does look a little jasmine like, i wonder if it has a nice scent also?

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  19. In South Africa we also have Halleria, a shrubby tree, which carries its flowers right on the branch like your plant.

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  20. As usual, I come here and see something I've never seen before. What an interesting plant. The little white flowers are very sweet looking. Does it have a scent? Thank you for showing me something new once again! :-)

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  21. That is a very unique plant. The flowers are very beautiful. I never have seen this before. Thanks for sharing!

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  22. What a fascinating plant. I have never saw anything like it. The flowers do remind you of Jasmine blooms. I cannot get over the blooms on the trunk of the plant or tree.

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  23. I can't be of any help in providing information, but they are extraordinary flowers! -Jean

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  24. Have not really seen the flowers before. But it is very unique and beautiful indeed.

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  25. Interesting to note that there are not many information in the web concerning this plant. Hmmm...

    It does look very famaliar like the fig tree but I guess they are not.

    Interesting to note that the flowers sprout from the leaf elbows. Are they fragrant?

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  26. Lovely flowers like the first picture very much.

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  27. Hi, everyone. Thank you very much for the visit and nice comments. The flowers doesn't seem to have any significant scent.

    Most likely, somebody from South East Asia, (Indonesia?) would have come across this plant before. I'm wondering what the local people call it.

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  28. The flowers are just fascinating how the grow directly on the trunk. They are just lovely and I do hope you are able to identify it :-)

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  29. It's completely unfamiliar to me. Really fascinating!

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  30. Interesting tree with flowers even growing out from the trunk. Nice white flowers too :-D

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  31. i remember i commented here yesterday, wondered why it did not appear here. Hi Autumn Belle, i am not forgetting to visit your blogs.

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  32. Somebody, we do not know who, deposited Phaleria in the FRIM nursery in the 1980s. I identified and multiplied the plants and have been growing them for nearly 30 years. The species was named and described by William Jack in 1822 from plants collected in Sumatra. Since then I have seen the plant in cultivation in Java and Singapore and there are records of it from Sri Lanka, Johore, New Guinea and elsewhere in SE Asia. The plants are easy to multiply from seeds.

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  33. Thank you my friends for your visits and comments. I am so glad Dr. Ng has given further details regarding this plant. FRIM refers to Forest Research Institue of Malaysia.

    Andrea has also commented but somehow, her comments didn't go through due to some technical problems. Here's her comment:

    "Actually I have not seen it in the Philippines, but I am not really authority on these things (ecologist, botanist, taxonomists), so I am not sure if it is in the country. I googled and it is not even described in wikipedia. Maybe it really is a rareplant. We call plants which flower directly from the trunk as cauliflorous. E.g. cacao, jackfruit, ficus. But this one is different as there are also flowers arising from the leaf axils of small twigs. Amazing."

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  35. This is a beautiful flower but one I have never seen before. Thank you for introducing it to me, and for sharing it with us at Today's Flowers. Have a great week.

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  36. Hahaha, this is my chuckle for islandgal246. I am back...back...back! That is the echo of my reply accross mountains and seas from The Philippines-Malaysia-Barbados. Actually, i have commented on her blog last night before i saw this comment of hers in your site. Thanks for pointing it out to me. Somehow i am flattered by that call, but i am not actually a botanist, or taxonomist as i've mentioned earlier. Actually i am a horticulturist/plant physiologist who is practicing it only as a hobby, because i am into IP management. Hahaha! Glad to meet you here again Islandgal246! thanks Autumn Belle for hosting our meeting. Maybe you can also serve some coffee!

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  37. Hahaha, I want to invite everyone, to come over here for a chat and have tea or coffee again. I'm going to make now drinks now.

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  38. so beautiful to be rare...just imagine a street full of that white flower, it will be so pretty!

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  39. I have two plants. Are the fruits poisonous? I have only made a tip of the tongue test - and lived.

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    Replies
    1. Machabuca, I'm sorry I have no idea if the plant parts or fruits are poisonous or not :P

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