Monday, August 19, 2013

Coastal greenery at Sematan

Long stretches of beach are fringed with tall Ru and coconut trees

Ru tree visited by a colourful bird.
 On a recent visit to Sematan, I watched long stretches of wide sandy beaches portraying the tropical look of swaying coconut trees and greenery.  The casuarina trees are called "Ru" in Malay.  These trees and the coconut palms dominant the coastal greenery but below them are a rich diversity of flowering shrubs. Of interest are the Sea Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus), Sea Lettuce (Scaevoda taccada)  and the Sea Ox eye (Wollostonia biflora).  On the sandy ground floor I noticed the Common Morning Glory ( Ipomoea purpurea) and another vine that is new to my eyes.
Typical coastal vegetation fringe ...large and tall Ru trees and shrubbery below and vines on the sandy beach floor
Ru (Casuarina equisetifolia )
Family : Casuarinaceae - Casuarina family

Young Ru treelets grown from its 'fruits' which are cones, although cones are not fruits.

Coconut trees (Cococ nucifera)
 I love to see swaying coconut leaves but I love most its young nuts opened and drinking its refreshing coconut water.  I was particularly fascinated by a small flock of parrots that fly to a tall but dead coconut trunk.  They seemed to be using the top of the trunk to clean their beaks.

 Three flowering shrubs or rather small trees that are abundantly free-flowering are the Sea Hibiscus, Sea Lettuce and Sea Ox eye.  The Sea Hibiscus has bright yellow flowers that gradually turn pink during the day ( see inset).
Sea Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus)
Family : Malvaceae - Hibiscus family

Sea Lettuce (Scaevoda taccada)
 The flowers of the Sea Lettuce look like half-flowers.  Its 5-lobed corolla is completely split down in its upper side and flared out like a fan.
Sea Lettuce (Scaevoda taccada)
Family : Goodeniaceae - Goodenia family

Free-flowering low shrubbery - Sea Ox eye ( Wollastonia biflora)

Pokok Serunai (Malay) - Wollastonia biflora
Syn : Weedelia biflora
Family : Compositae - Sun flower family

Common Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea)
Family : Convolvulaceae - Morning Glory family
 On the sandy floor I saw the Common Morning Glory.  There is however another plant that is uncommon to my eyes.  It has purple flowers that look more from the sub-family Papilionoideae, with flowers closely resembling the Clitoria ternata or the Butterfly pea but leaves of the Morning Glory.  Its pod makes it under the family of Leguminosae or Bean family which is further divided into the sub-families - Caesalpinioideae, Mimosideae and Papilionoideae.  Peculiar to the Papilionoideae, the upper petals stands out by its larger size and different shape with the two lower petals  united.

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