Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Unique flowers of Malaysia

Malaysia Post pleased to launch a set of four stamps feature the unique flowers on October 9, 2008.
The issue stamps depicts the unique flowers of Malaysia, Kembang Songsang or Gloriosa superba, Goniothalamus tapis  or Kenerak, Quisqualis indica  or Akar dani,  Michelia figo or Cempaka Pisang.

Kembang Songsang or Gloriosa superba is A scandent plant, climbing by leaftip tendrils. The perianth segments, which are accrescent during anthesis and become reflexed, are striking in color, yellow proximally and at margins and dark red in the median portion.

Gloriosa superba is the national flower of Zimbabwe and it is also the state flower of Tamil Nadu state in India, and was the national flower of Tamil Eelam. This is a species of the genus Gloriosa.

Gloriosa is a genus of ten species in the plant family Colchicaceae.They are native in tropical and southern Africa to Asia. They are tender, tuberous rooted deciduous perennials, adapted to summer rainfall with a dormant dry season.

Kenerak or Goniothalamus tapis is occur in peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.It is a shrub or small tree that can reach up to measure 10 m tall.
 The leaves are oblong to elliptical-oblong in shape, with a size measuring 15-27 cm x 6-12 cm. The base is rounded or slightly wedge-shaped, abruptly apex, shortly and bluntly acuminate and coriaceous.

The flowers are solitary or paired, axillary and sweet-scented. Goniothalamus tapis is a forest species of lower elevations, rather common in Peninsular Malaysia.

Akar dani or Quisqualis indica , also called the Rangoon Creeper is a vine with red flower clusters and is found in Asia. It is found in many other parts of the world either as a cultivated ornamental or run wild.

Quisqualis indica is a ligneous vine that can reach from 2.5 meters to up to 8 meters. Akar dani is found in thickets or secondary forests of the Philippines, India and Malaysia. It has since been cultivated and naturalized in tropical areas.

The plant is used as an herbal medicine. Decoctions of the root, seed or fruit can be used as antihelmintic to expel parasitic worms or for alleviating diarrhea. Fruit decoction can also be used for gargling. The fruits are also used to combat nephritis. Leaves can be used to relieve pain caused by fever. The roots are used to treat rheumatism.

The flowers are fragrant and tubular and their color varies from white to pink to red. The 30 to 35 mm long fruit is ellipsoidal and has five prominent wings. The fruit tastes like almonds when mature.

Cempaka Pisang or  Michelia figo is an evergreen tree growing to 3-4 m tall. It is native to China.It grows in acid and alkaline soil very well. Susceptible to black soot.

It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens for its fragrant flowers, which are cream-white, purple rounded, or light-purple, and strongly scented.

The leaves are leathery, dark glossy-green, up to 10 cm long. This plant is used in Shanghai, China, as a tall evergreen hedge. It grows to a large evergreen compact tree.

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