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Everything posted by Stairs

  1. *** I AM A DUPLICATE POST - PLEASE DELETE ME IF IT IS IN YOUR POWER *** Have just taken a look through your pictures, Jeremiah - a wonderful selection - thanks for sharing. Also, don't mention it - it was a pleasure to lead the group, and I enjoyed my time with you guys immensely. Christer, the orchid is a Stigmatodactylus - a first record of the genus in the Philippines. Marc, Trus Madi was never closed - the main trail has been shut down for a few years of maintenance, but one can climb from at least two other routes. If you ever face this situation again, please get in touch. Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013 to all, Alastair.
  2. Have just taken a look through your pictures, Jeremiah - a wonderful selection - thanks for sharing. Also, don't mention it - it was a pleasure to lead the group, and I enjoyed my time with you guys immensely. Christer, the orchid is a Stigmatodactylus - a first record of the genus in the Philippines. Marc, Trus Madi was never closed - the main trail has been shut down, but one can climb from at least two other routes. If you ever face this situation again, please get in touch. Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013 to all, Alastair.
  3. Hey Steve, No - actually, we were barred from entry entirely this time, but a couple of phone calls (offering to leave all photographic equipment behind) convinced them that we were solely there for the plants and not wishing to expose any of the damage to the local environment. So, it was a walkup, as before, but with more time to explore. The road loops back to the beginning, so you saw almost everything. It is likely that N. burbidgeae is about, given the presence of the hybrids, but the plants near to the road may have died out or been displaced through processes of succession in the intervening years. Still one of my favourite ever Nepenthes sites. Happy holidays, Alastair.
  4. Everyone except Nicolas; since that mountain is so straightforward and doesn't require much motivational support, I left them with the local guides and took him south to find the N. bicalcarata. The diversion wasn't a guaranteed thing, so I was really happy that we found it, as it is now the furthest north site that this species is known from.
  5. Dave, please try now. Apologies for any inconvenience; I simply don't have the time at present to upload them elsewhere. It may help if you are signed into Facebook, although it used to be the case that a public link was a public link. Cheers, Alastair.
  6. Hey Steve, Have just been able to look at all of your pictures - a wonderful selection; you've done a great job capturing the trip - thank you for sharing. I wish you could have been there for the second round - the weather was postcard perfect! We found the so-called N. burbidgeae at Ranau - certainly a hybrid with N. fusca, but very beautiful. Those giant tyres are around the corner from Nirvana, the last site we made it to up there. Happy holidays, Alastair.
  7. Dear all, For those who are interested, I've uploaded images from the November-December expedition to Palawan and Borneo. Highlights include a return visit to Thumb Peak, in the Iwahig Prison & Penal Colony, as well as Mount Victoria and an excursion to see Nepenthes bicalcarata in a lowland peat swamp. Once again, some new orchid taxa were identified, one a saprophyte and the other a remarkable epiphyte. Featured plants include (among others): Nepenthes deaniana Nepenthes philippinensis Nepenthes attenboroughii Nepenthes reinwardtiana Nepenthes fusca Nepenthes macrovulgaris Nepenthes gracilis Nepenthes mirabilis Nepenthes stenophylla Nepenthes burbidgeae Nepenthes rajah Nepenthes villosa (Tambuyukon form) Drosera ultramafica You can view the entire album on Facebook. Please let me know should you encounter any problems viewing the album, or if you have any questions about the trip or plants encountered. Happy Christmas! Alastair.
  8. We're pretty certain that this taxon is a cross between N. chaniana and N. fusca. Alastair.
  9. Great shots, John - thank you for sharing; the marvelousness of such flotation devices in Utricularia gets me every time! Cheers Alastair.
  10. Joachim, the hybrid was pretty much intermediate. What was even cooler was finding perhaps the first wild N. fusca x lowii hybrid - the pitchers were very large, but alas all dried up and in rather poor condition. Perhaps we'll have better luck in December.
  11. Thanks all, you're very welcome; always a pleasure to share the beauty of the flora and fauna of this part of the world. @Rodrigo, it isn't so rare that we come across new taxa, but actually being able to legally collect is something else; fortunately I was prepared for this as I'd spotted the genus back on our first climb in 2007. The genus is entirely unknown from the Philippines. @Fernando, they really are; some of the campsites are very rocky, or worse, on slopes, making for unpleasant sleeping. Provided there are a few trees about (high probability on the equator!), you can sleep flat and dry in most any location. Even slim, ultramontane trees are strong enough to bear the occasional human between them. I use a Hennessy Ultralight Explorer, but also gather that Warbonnet Blackbirds are amazing. @Random, I only know the two John's by their actual names - I'm not a frequent forum user. Rafflesia are found across SE Asia, but they tend to be highly localised and are severely threatened by forest clearance and collection. We found both of the most common Sabah species, but for them to be in flower at the time of visit is mere luck, since the blooms must mature for over 6 months yet last just a few days. The trip was a little under three weeks long. Alastair.
  12. Dear all, For those who are interested, I've uploaded a small selection of my own photographs from the recent Redfern expedition to Palawan and Borneo to Facebook; you shouldn't need to be a FB friend or member to view the images. You can view the album here. Whilst fairly difficult owing to the number of peaks attempted in the time available, the expedition was a great success and members were able to view all the species they had hoped to see, along with a few bonuses that included Nepenthes we had not planned on encountering, some new orchid taxa and two species of Rafflesia. With respect, I will not add people I do not know as friends on Facebook, so please do not take it personally if I do not acknowledge a random request; I use the service for friends and family only. Please let me know should you encounter any problems viewing the album. Best wishes, Alastair.
  13. Hello Simon, My N. peltata was sent to me from Japan before the species was described, being a clone of the same stock that was used to deposit the type specimen from which the species description was made; it did not produce peltate leaf tips in the smallest rosette leaves, but this characteristic rapidly became apparent as the leaves became more robust. Since I spend so much time in the field in Asia, I have handed my Nepenthes collection to Kew and a few trusted friends; Andy S has this plant now, so it might be worth checking with him. Since it's a living example of the type, you really can't go wrong! Cheers, Alastair.
  14. Looks like a beautiful spot; it's interesting how uniform the range of Indochinese Utrics seems to be at localities from Thailand through to Vietnam and Cambodia - once you descend past the Isthmus of Kra into Malaysia, it's rather different. Thanks for sharing.
  15. Hi Manders; it is indeed Doritis pulcherrima; I'm afraid I never got round to updating the post. Thank you, Alastair.
  16. A stunning range of plants and photographs; thanks for sharing. Having just moved to Melbourne, I'm excited at the prospect of seeing some of these myself in time. Cheers, Alastair.
  17. Thank you, Schatz; I knew you'd come through. Bis bald, Alastair.
  18. Thank you, gents. Fernando, I was fairly remiss I'm afraid, just these of U. minutissima and a tiny yellow species smaller than U. minutissima: Taxa we saw included U. delphinioides, U. subulata, U. aurea, U. uliginosa, U. odorata, U. minutissima, U. caerulea, one whose name escapes me (am shattered, apologies), and an unidentified submerged terrestrial. Richard, that was probably U. subulata. The Utrics were everywhere. Alastair.
  19. Continuing on from our research into Nepenthes thorelii, François and I have since had the chance to visit various sites in the southwest of Cambodia, most of which are of a rather particular type; the upland 'veals' consist of very thin lateritic substratum overlying sandstone slabs. As such, the surrounding forests end to give way to Melaleuca scrub land and plenty of carnivores. We've come across 9 species of Utricularia, the two commonest tropical Drosera and, of course, Nepenthes. Below are a couple of snaps to illustrate some of what we saw: Nepenthes kampotiana. Nepenthes kampotiana with Drosera burmanii. Drosera indica habitat with underlying sandstone. Green and red forms were found alongside one another in some habitats. Drosera burmanii growing on sand and rock respectively: Lithophytic orchid species Utricularia odorata Alongside another, rather common taxon: And last, but not least, the spectacular Utricularia delphinioides:
  20. Kevyn, that's fine - if people did not question, there would be no progress! Yes, KL - saya adah rumah dekat stesen Putra, tetapi saya tinggal di Melbourne untuk beberapa bulan setiap tahun.
  21. Kevyn, we will discuss various aspects you raise in our paper, but a striking difference, which is key in maintaining a majority of true plants, is flowering time. The taxa at the site seem to differ significantly, and as such, the species plants are likely to reproduce with a minority of hybrid plants. These are readily apparent.
  22. Kevyn, well noticed. The plants in question are a complex hybrid with Nepenthes mirabilis, which grows in the wettest parts of the habitat at a low density. Simple crosses were also evident in large numbers in places, forming vigorous and remarkably uniform growths. Alastair.
  23. Fernando, there were Drosera burmanii all over the place ;) The population numbers less than 100 in the area that we were able to survey, with both sexes apparent, male dominating as always with Nepenthes. We hope to answer the last question with further research. These plants form a viable population, certainly, setting seed and remaining largely undisturbed as they are in a military zone. Alastair.
  24. Dear all, As of today, Nepenthes thorelii has officially been relocated in Vietnam, within Tay Ninh province, its type locality. François kindly invited me to help him continue his search for the elusive species in order to make an official determination in the event that he discovered plants of interest. I am pleased to confirm, firstly, that François is not actually insane after all, and secondly, that the specimens studied in situ at the so-called Sữa Đá (Sua Da) site fall neatly into the description made by Lecomte in 1909, and match the specimens at the Paris herbarium perfectly. This is therefore the first time that the species has been formally identified and collected (with minimal impact on the population) by qualified botanists in one hundred and two years. Given the recent elimination of potential communities of this taxon by poachers, details of the site will not be made public for the foreseeable future, a decision made in concert with the Institute of Tropical Biology in Ho Chi Minh -- with whom we conducted the expedition -- in order to protect this critically endangered taxon. Aside from any additional photos that we are able to provide at a later juncture, this is all the information that we can offer at this time. Congratulations, François. I'm sure that the forum will look forward to seeing some of your own photographs in due course. I have included some of my own in the interim. We extend our thanks to the members of the research institute and the Vietnam Army for their assistance in this endeavour. Best wishes, Alastair. Lower-intermediate pitcher - an especially robust specimen. Intermediate pitcher. An upper pitcher. François with members of the forestry research team and new herbarium specimens. The rootstocks and additional crowns were left intact so as to minimise any impact on the population. Additional lower traps. One of a handful of flower mantids located on the scapes of this taxon. Other commensal taxa included three different types of spider. The partially digested remains of a scorpion found in a lower trap.
  25. Siggi, François emailed me especially to let me know about your photographs; I'm very pleased to see that this taxon is thriving in some collections. The phenotype plasticity observed in the wild was high, but generally correlated well with where individual pitchers developed; those in litter or crevices tending towards ovoid/urceolate, those in full sun having the more typically campanulate pitchers. Since the seed was collected in the field, there is no possibility of interspecific introgression as no other taxa exist within close proximity. Please do keep us updated; I am especially fond of updates about this taxon, and yours is encouraging as the specimens at Kew and indeed many other collections are not growing half so well. Do please share your soil and growing conditions so that others can emulate your success. Best wishes, Alastair.