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  1. This is a selection of pictures from the recent Redfern expedition to Hose Mountain, in central Borneo, with an additional ascent of Trus Madi, the second highest peak after Kinabalu at 2,642 metres. Aware that Vincent posted many pictures from Trus Madi, I have tried to complement his picture set. I have kept the picture sizes small so as not to dis-advantage viewers with poor internet connections. If anyone wants an original, please ask. Trus Madi This is a distant shot of the Trus Madi ridge, with the double peak to the right, the summit being on the far right. The notch between the two peaks holds a lovely mossy forest. After a lot of recent expenditure, the reserve has a new entrance gateway, accommodation block and boardwalk on the lower mountain reaches Beyond the boardwalk it is a clear trail up, though there are a few roped sections and the odd bit of metalwork to assist. There are some lovely mossy forest sections on the way up already rich in orchids, though few were in flower at the time. After much ascent, and sort of being convinced that Nepenthes were entirely absent, I rounded a bend in the trail and suddenly came upon stands of N.lowii. The habitat is worth showing as it does give a better appreciation of the conditions this species prefers. The "trees" in the mossy forest are short (perhaps 4-6m) and the vines scramble through them in the more open sections. Pretty much everything that is fixed down is moss covered, and the branches can be "wrung out" if you squeeze the moss. Pitchers hang at various heights and the path passes underneath some, whilst others rest on the mossy floor. This species is "famous" for being a loo for shrews, and i am pretty sure this is what fills this pitcher whilst Stewart pointed out a pitcher with an infaunal community of mosquito larvae which call lowii pitchers their "nursery". This is, of course, cloud forest and moving higher and beyond the main lowii stands meant that visibility often dropped off with James here ascending via ropes and ladders up a very cloudy face. From the first photo in this post you will recall the twin peaks, and this photo is taken from the first (with its new shiny observation tower), looking back along the ridges to the telecomms unit just along the ridge. The path passes alongside this. This picture gives some idea of the steepness of the slopes but also, because of altitudinal opportunities, how narrow the high mossy forest areas are. Between the observation tower and summit, from which this photo was taken, is a fine mossy forest in the dip between the higher ground. This is home to the population of Nepenthes macrophylla. Obligatory omg shot, I am afraid! I am allowed one/post! If anything, this macrophylla forest was even mossier than the lowii one Eventually, Team Hose reaches the summit of Trus Madi. Marc, James, Stewart, me and Richard. Of course, where you have 2 species, one can have hybrids, and my descent with our guide (I set off early as i am always much slower descending) resulted in seeing 3 of the 5 known (to our guide) Nepenthes x trusmadiensis plants. Of particular note is the weaker peristome, with relatively poorly formed teeth (and these are much softer to the touch than the sharp macrophylla ones), and the noticeable waist to the pitcher. The last photo was from a plant scrambling through a tree canopy level with the path, so steep is the drop from the ridge. Hose Mountain to be completed another day.
  2. Hello everyone, I was one of the lucky ones who joined a Redfern expedition recently. I went to Borneo to climb gunung Murud, gunung Trus Madi and gunun Tambuyukon. One the way back home, I stopped for 24h in Kuala Lumpur, and I went to Genting Highlands. I will not focus here on the people (so nice and friendly, both the locals and the other team members) or the food (one of my main passion, and I can tell you I was not disappointed!) Here are a few pictures of this amasing trip! Let me know if you have some interest in a particular species or other, I'll check if I have more pictures of that ;-) On the way to Gunung Murud, on the road sides: N. reinwardtiana: N. vogelii (or similar, as there is some debate about it): N. fusca: Gunung Murud: N. muluensis: N. lowii: N. hurreliana N. murudensis (classical form, quite boring from my perspective): A more interesting form of N. murudensis:
  3. Hello! I had the chance to visit the region of Kuching, Sarawak on Borneo. Magic! My idea was to see some lowland Nepenthes, and I can tell you I wasn't disappointed at all! I went in the Bako National Parc, where proboscis monkeys and other animals were waiting for me. But my actual targets were, of course, the few Nepenthes species that are growing there. They are quite common ones, but I really think they were fantastic. I re-discovered Nepenthes rafflesiana. The variability between the individuals is stunning. See by yourself: The same, closer. Fabulous peristome! One of my favorite Nep being ampullaria, you can't imagine how excited I was when I found many of them. Some of them even climbed up to more than 10m! And even upper pitchers: And a few other species: N. gracilis More N. gracilis... A lot more, actually! N. albomarginata N. hirsuta Population of N. reinwardtiana on the sea side (only a few meter from the sea) Who said that Nep and Droseras needs different growing conditions? Drosera spatulata var. bakoensis + N. gracilis. Some like to live dangerously... But it was so hot that I quite envied this one. After Bako, I went to Bau to see N. northiana. Great place, and funny to see them hanging to the cliffs. I wanted to see them "face-to-face", but unfortunately I couldn't find them. And the guides who could show me them closer asked for about 125 to 250 euros! For a 30km half-a-day trip, it's REALLY too expensive! Especially when you know the cost of living there. For example, big bowl of soup costs about 0.8 euro... The plant is on the top. Zoom: I have to show you at least one picture of a proboscis monkey (Bako) and one of an orang-outang (Semenggoh), since I was visiting their home. Very impressive! For your information, food is simply excellent and costs nothing. I even tried the famous chicken feet that chinese people like so much. Well... let's say that it's not really my taste...
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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