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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyrio

Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria

I went to photograph a Datura for a post I have been working on about the Plant family Solanaceae as well as a discussion of the difference between two genra that make up Tribe Datureae in Solonaceae: Datura and Brugmansia. Unfortunately the flowers had already closed so I ended up drving up to Aleisa and then decided to listen to my intuition and go up the road to Fiaga Power Station.
The road was unfrequented but in excellent condition so I had no problems and pulled over every now and then to take photos of various plants that caught my eye. Then as I approached a large field of newly planted taro I saw something moving on the roadside.
Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria
 Imagine my utter delight when I saw two Purple Swamphens - Porphyrio porphyria strutting around! One disappeared into the long grass opposite the cleared field with taro, but the other one stayed on the mound of excavated dirt that ran along that side of the road (no doubt for laying electrical power lines).
Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria
 I stopped the car and started taking photos because this is one bird that I have often seen around usually in bush land and large plantations but have never managed to get a decent photo off. I have seen one on a banana tree eating bananas at Vailele and Alafua but they are skittish birds and always fly away into surrounding scrub or high grass so running to get my camera is pointless. I few weeks earlier I saw one up at Tiapapata and took some photos with my camera phone. But the photo quality was dismal.
Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria
 This time I was able to take quite a few pictures as it strutted around, posed and looked for food in the dirt. It also started across the road and then went back again. All which allowed me to take some reasonable photos. Fortunately my zoom allows me to get close ups as I was not close at all.
Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria


After taking a few photos I started to edge the car forward a bit as I wanted to get closer for better quality photos. I was able to inch forward about a couple meters before the Purple Swamphen decided I was getting too close and flew away to hide in the long grass. Nonetheless I was quite happy as I did manage to get some slightly better quality photos.

Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria

Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria




Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

My other blogs

· Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters): http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.com/

· The Blood of Souls (language, translation and etymology) : http://thebloodofsouls.blogspot.com/

· Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general) : http://whiskersonkittens-vincent.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A special surprise


Several months ago I brought some Strawberry plants, Fragaria ananassa  from Tanumalala to Alafua to propagate them from their runners. At first I was not sure if they would grow but after keeping them in semi shade and close by so I could keep an eye on them they proved hardy enough and I moved them to the shade house with all my other plants where some started sending out runners which I rooted by simply placing a planting bag filled with soil under the new plantlet and just letting them do their thing.

Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa

Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa daughter plants still attached by their runners to the mother plant.



Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa runner and daughter plant taking root
 Then I pretty much forgot about them other than saying hello to them when I was watering or visiting the plants in the shade house until one day when I they presented me with some beautiful flowers. 

Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa flower
 

Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa flower

 Not long after the fruit formed and ... Yes Virginia, Strawberries do grow in the tropics.

Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa plant with ripe and unripe fruit
.



Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa plant with ripe and unripe fruit


Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa plant with ripe and unripe fruit






Strawberry, Fragaria ananassa plant with ripe and unripe fruit






Order: Rosales – Family: Rosaceae – Subfamily: Rosoideae – Genus: Fragaria – Species: Fragaria ananassa


Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Visit to Vanya Taulealo's Art Gallery and Garden




Caribbean Agave, Agave angustifolia "Marginata"
Last week I visited Vanya Taulealo's Art Gallery and she also kindly showed me around her large, well tended and beautiful garden which included an area with various native trees (which unfortunately I was unfamiliar with).


One section of the garden was devoted to an assortment of Bromelias. There was also a Cinnamon tree which was in flower and even has one ripe berry. This was fortuitous as I had not yet obtained any photographs of the flowers or fruit of a Cinnamon tree.

Flowers of the Cinnamon tree, Cinnamomum verum

Ripe fruit of Cinnamon tree, Cinnamomum verum

Pink Torch Ginger, Etlingera elatior
There was also a Pink Torch Ginger which means that the ones I have are actually Red rather than pink or maybe something between Red and Pink since I still think mine are more pinkish than red. There were also some Red Torch Gingers which unfortunately were not in flower as I would have liked to see if they were the same colour as the ones I have so that I could resolve the colour issue.

Rhododendron zoelleri
The plant in the photo above is one I have been seeing around a bit recently and I think I may have acquired one recently but I cannot find the name.

Hibiscus
Like most gardens in the Pacific Vanya also had a variety of Hibiscuses. The one above is of one of the double ruffled variety. Below is another variety which has large firm petals.



When I saw the shrub below I was not sure but suspected that it might be closely related to   Duranta erecta. I was not sure because the flowers look quite different from the ones I have although I must admit that that is in relation to the colour only but when I saw a few orange berries I was sure it was related. Then after I did some research I was surprised to find that it was most probably a cultivar of Duranta erecta rather than a separate species in the Duranta genus.
Vanya Taulealo's Skyflower, Duranta erecta "Sapphire Showers"
Duranta erecta is also known as Golden Dewdrop and Pigeon Berry (after the strings of orange berries) as well as Skyflower (no doubt after the blue flowers). In Mexico it is known by native Nahuatl name  Xcambocoché. I have not heard it referred to as anything other than Duranta in Samoa aside from a descriptive explanation related to its orange berries or spikey branches which make it sought out for as a hedge plant. However, in Tonga it goes by the colourful and evocative name of mavaetangi (tears of departure).

Among its cultivars are 'Alba', 'Aurea', 'Aussie Gold', 'Gold Mound', 'Geisha Girl', 'Sapphire Showers', and 'Variegata'. I think that the variety that Vanya has is "Sapphire Showers".


Showy Asian Grapes, Medinilla speciosa
Another delightful surprise was Medinilla speciosa or Showy Asian Grapes which despite the flower being in its final stages is always a welcome find. Unfortunately the cutting I got from Samoana Nursery (where Vanya said she got hers too) did not take.

Additional Information:

Binomial Name: Agave angustiflora
Common names: Caribbean Agave(English); choka baïonnette (French - Réunion).
Taxonomy: Order: Asparagales – Family: Asparagaceae – Subfamily: Agavoideae – Genus: Agave – Species: Agave angustifolia


Binomial Name: Cinnamomum verum
Common names: True Cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, Sri Lanka cinnamon (English); cannelier, cannelier de Ceylan (French); árbol de la canela (Spanish); cannella, cinnamomo (Italian); Ceylon-Zimtbaum, Echter Zimtbaum (German); Kulit kayu manis (Bahasa Indonesian); Tinamoni (Samoan)
Taxonomy: Order: Laurales – Family Lauraceae – Genus: Cinnamomum – Species: Cinnamomum vera


Binomial Name: Etlingera elatior
Common names: Torch Ginger, Ginger Flower, Red Ginger Lily, Torch Lily, Wild Ginger, Combrang, Bunga Kantan, Philippine Wax Flower, Xiang Bao Jiaing, Indonesian Tall Ginger (English); Boca de Dragón, Rose de Porcelaine (French); bastón de emperador  (Spanish); Rosa-de-porcelana (Portugese);  Kecombrang, kantan, honje (Bahasa Indonesian)
Taxonomy: Order:Zingiberales – Family Gingiberaceae– Genus: Etlingera– Species: Etlingera elatior 


Binomial Name: Rhododendron zoelleri
Common names: Rhododendron zoelleri (English) Name (Language)
Taxonomy: Order: Ericales – Family: Ericaceae – Genus: Rhododendron - Species: Rhododendron zoelleri


Binomial Name: Duranta erecta
Common names: Golden Dewdrop, Pigeon Berry, Skyflower (English); Mavaetangi (Tongan); vanillier de Cayenne (French); Xcambocoché (Nahuatl); Sinyo nakal (Bahasa Indonesian)
Taxonomy: Order: Lamiales – Family: Verbenaceae – Genus: Duranta – Duranta erecta

Binomial Name: Medinilla speciosa
Common names: Showy Asian Grapes  (English) Name (Language)
Taxonomy: Order: Myrtales – Family: Melastomataceae – Genus: Medinilla – Species: Medinilla speciosa

Acknowledgements:

Isabelle from New Caledonia: Identification of Rhododendron zoelleri.


Nynette Sass: Identifying the Agave angustifolia (Caribbean Agave) as being a Sisal type plant and speeding up it's identification.

Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.


Additional Information:

Here is a list of my current blogs:

·         Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters)

·         The Blood of  Souls (language, translation and etymology)

·         Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general)



 


 


 


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Serendipity at Papapapaitai Falls

On the same day that I saw an unexpected bird at the Vailima Botanical Garden I went up to Tiavi and over to the Papapapaitai Falls lookout and was taking some photos when I caught sight of a Cardinal Myzomela, Myzomela cardinalis feeding of some Firecracker Hibiscus, Malvaviscus penduliflorus.








Cardinal Myzomela, Myzomela cardinalis feeding of some Firecracker Hibiscus, Malvaviscus penduliflorus



Cardinal Myzomela, Myzomela cardinalis feeding of some Firecracker Hibiscus, Malvaviscus penduliflorus



Additional Information:

Binomial Name: Phylum: Chordata – Class: Aves – Order: Passerformes – Familt: Meliphagidae – Genus: Myzomela – Species: M. cardinalis
Common names: Cardinal Myzomela (English) Segaseagmau’u(Samoan)


Binomial Name: Malvaviscus penduliflorus
Common names: Firecracker Hibiscus,  Turk's Cap Mallow, Wax Mallow, Sleeping Hibiscus, Mazapan(English)


Taxonomy

  • Phylum: Chordata – Class: Aves – Order: Passeriformes – Family: Meliphagidae – Genus: Myzomela – Species: M. cardinalis
  • Order: Malvaceae – Family Malvaceae – Subfamily: Malvoideae – Tribe: Hibisceae – Genus: Malvaviscus - Species: M. arboreus

Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

My other blogs

· Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters): http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.com/

· The Blood of Souls (language, translation and etymology) : http://thebloodofsouls.blogspot.com/

· Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general) : http://whiskersonkittens-vincent.blogspot.com/



Saturday, 15 June 2013

Wattled Honey Eater in Mango Tree versus Kitten in Breadfruit tree

One of the Wattled Honeyeaters  (Foulehaio carunculatus) was doing its usual noisy chattering in the mango tree and Pebble climbed up the Breadfruit tree (Artocarpus altilis)... which luckily did not give any access to where the Wattled Honeyeater was.
After spending several minutes looking around with this puzzled expression Pebble decided to turn the failed bird hunt into a modelling exercise and proceeded to pose for the camera.
 He did not quite manage the Cheshire Cat look because he refused to grin but he did manage the "Forlorn Kitty up a tree look" and the "Kitten Melting on and branch" look.



In the end he came down on his own. After all he is a kitten from the Ninja Cat Clan ... although technically he is probably getting a bit too old and big to be still referred to as a kitten.


Meanwhile the Wattled Honeyeater was happily whistling away almost as if he were teasing Pebble. At least he consented to sit still long enough for me to use the zoom to photograph him although it was not that easy seeing how he blends in with the leaves and branches of the Mango tree as he was quite high up.


Additional Information:

Binomial Name: Phylum: Chordata – Class: Aves – Order: Passerformes – Familt: Meliphagidae – Genus: Foulehaio – Species: F. carunculatus
Common names: Wattled Honeyeater (English) I’ao (Samoan)
Binomial Name: Artocarpus atilis
Common names: Breadfruit (English) Ulu (Samoan), Ulu (Hawaiian), Uto (Fijian), Lemai (Guam and Northern Marianas), Sa Ke( Thailand, Vietnam) Buah Sukun (Malay), Arbre à pain (French- Guadaloupe) bois pain (French-Saint Lucia), Kamansi (Philippines –Tagalog & Kapampangan), Sukrun (Indonesian)

Binomial Name: Mangifera indica

Common names: Mango (English) Mago (Samoan)
  
Taxonomy

  • Order: Rosales – Family: Moraceae – Tribe: Artocarpeae – Genus: Artocarpus – Species: A altilis

  • Order: Sapindales – Family: Anacardiaceae – Genus: Mangifera – Species: M. indica

  • Phylum: Chordata – Class: Aves – Order: Passeriformes – Family: Meliphagidae – Genus: Foulehaio – Species F. carunculatus


Friday, 14 June 2013

Some Random plants and birds from Samoa



This is one of the plants I found growing at the summit of Mount Vaea where Robert Louis Stevenson's tomb is. It looks like Lantana but I am only familiar with the yellow and orange variety so I cannot be certain although the flower structure looks similar. The other major difference is that all of the yellow orange ones I have seen have tons of flowers whereas this one just had a few appearing amidst other plants. Perhaps they are a few young plants struggling to survive amongst the other plants?

Calathea burle-marxii "Blue Ice"
Here is one of the Calathea burle-marxii "Blue Ice" that I transplanted at Alafua. All the Calathea burle-marxii "Blue Ice" and "Green Ice" appear to have survived transplant and as evidenced by the flowers.
 Chinese Violet, (Asystasia gangetica)


Flowers of the Surinam Cherry, (Eugenia uniflora)


Fruit of the Surinam Cherry, (Eugenia uniflora)
 The Surinam Cherry belongs to the plant family Myrtaceae

Flowers of an Unknown shrub


Tomato flowers (Solanum lycopersicum)

Cardinal Myzomela (Myzomela cardinalis)

We saw this chap feasting in a large stand of Odontenema. I am not sure which species we have here in Samoa. It could be either Odontonema strictum or Odontonema cuspidatum although it appears that the two a synonymous so I guess either one could be considered correct.

In any case it is appropriate for a Cardianl Myzomela to been seen amongst these flowers as one of  Odontenema's common names is "Cardinal guard".


Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters Blog by Vincent Albert Vermeulen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.be/.

My other blogs

· Flora and Fauna - Plants and Critters (on plants, animals as well as gardening, conservation and environmental matters): http://plantsandcritters.blogspot.com/

· The Blood of Souls (language, translation and etymology) : http://thebloodofsouls.blogspot.com/

· Whiskers on Kittens (Life with Kittens and Cats in general) : http://whiskersonkittens-vincent.blogspot.com/