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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Mystery Plant 2

Mystery Plant 2

Ok here is another Mystery Plant. I have seen this plant growing in at least four locations in Samoa although I do not think it is native to the islands. In anycase it does not appear in either W. Arthur Whistler's Wayside Plants of the Pacific Islands or Flowers of the Pacific Island Seashore (although I did not really expect to find it in the latter since it looks more like a forest plant.

The three locations where I have seen them are:
Malifa right on the left hand corner as you turn off the Cross Island Road to go to Lelata and up near Scalinis where you can see them peaking out of the bottom of the hedge through gaps. I suspect that it is being used as ground cover of sorts but cannot really tell.
Tanumalala where it was growing in a patch of several square meters.
Alafua at the dead end side of Arp Road on a broad flat plains-type area. I think someone planted it there or someshow it got there and spread over several square meters.

 Now Malifa could possibly qualify as Town Area while the land at Alafua although now pretty much surrounded by residences is still quasi farmland although that area has lain fallow for a while although techically it is under cultivation if you count the banana clumps that are growing there. Tanumalala is definately Farmland and I suspect that the person who planted the Heliconias, Calatheas and other tropical flowering plants there (since they are all introduced species) also planted them.

 Both Alafua and Malifa are relatively lowlying areas while Tanumalala is up in the mountains or highlands at least. I have no idea what the rainfall is at Alafua or Malifa but up at Tanumalala it is considerable it the nights are rather cool.

The locations at Tanumalala and Malifa get partial shade while the area at Alafua receives full sun.

The flowers are white however these are not flowers in the photos on the black tiles. They are seeds / grains.

From what I have seen they grow by sending up suckers from a spreading root system. They have long stems which lie on the ground.

Someone refered to them as Flax but I could find no flax plants that resembled these.

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  1. Thanks Vincent lovely to see these plants, wish I know the Samoan name for it. This plant for sure was introduced in Samoa. Do you find it in other countries? I'm just curious....Comment from Rosalina Sapolu

  2. Hi Rosalina, I suspect that you are correct in guessing that it is an introduced plant. However, we can only hope that someone will be able to identify it. If I had access to a decent library or at the very least just a good library of botany I might be able to find out waht it is.