Flora in Borneo
Travel pictures from Borneo
by Günther Eichhorn
This page contains pictures of some of the plants that I saw in Borneo.
The highlights of the plant life are the Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world, and the huge insect-digesting pitcher plants (Nepenthes sp.). Another highlight are the incredible number of orchid species in the Mt. Kinabalu park (1000 - 1200).
The Rafflesias are parasites that grow on one kind of liana. The main part of the Rafflesia is a network of threads within the liana. Every so often, a flower emerges. It has up to eight or so leaves (the one I saw had 5 ½ leaves). The diameter of the flower can be up to 1 m. The flower emits a light smell like dead animals. This attracts flies, which then pollinate the flower. The one I saw had a flower diameter of about 80 cm (Rafflesia keithii).
The other spectacular plant is the pitcher plant. There are separate male and female pitcher plants for each species. The pitchers themselves are extensions of the tip of the leaves. They grow on both male and female plants. Some of the pitchers hold 3-4 liters of fluid (a little less than a gallon). The inside walls are very smooth, so insects cannot crawl on those walls.If an insect falls into the liquid in the pitcher, it can't get out anymore. The liquid contains enzymes that digest the insect, and the plant takes up the nutrients from the digested insect.
In Danum Valley I noted especially the Strangler Fig. Seeds of the Strangler Fig land on a tree. They grow multiple roots down to the forest floor, and branches up. Both wrap around the trunk of the host tree and grow steadily thicker, eventually strangling and killing the host tree. By that time the Strangler Fig's trunk and root system is strong enough to support itself, while the host tree dies. Eventually, only the Strangler Fig, hollow inside where the host tree decayed, is left standing.
|Mount Kinabalu from the air. (349k)||Mount Kinabalu. (627k)||River meanders in the rain forest. (298k)||Rain forest with remains of morning mist. (797k)||Rain forest along the Kinabatangan River. (528k)|
|Moon rise over the rain forest. (363k)||Evening on one of the turtle islands. (423k)||Mud volcano in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. (720k)||Close-up of mud volcano in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. (581k)||Entrance to the bat cave. (753k)|
|Entrance to the bat cave. You can gauge the size of the cave entrance from the size of the palm trees. (677k)||The inside of the bat cave. For a size reference, to the right of the big rock in the foreground are some people. Some of the black spots on the ceiling are bats, millions of them. (267k)||Multi-colored stalactite formation. (480k)||Stalactite with water droplet. (378k)||Water dripping from Stalactite to Stalagmite. (329k)|
|Weird stalagmite. (552k)||Stalactite/stalagmite column. (513k)||Flow formation in the limestone cave. It lets you determine the flow direction of the water (in this case coming towards you). (389k)||Phyto karst. This is caused by bacteria and algae that grow on the limestone and erode it. It is pointed towards the light source that sustains the growth. (838k)||This stalagmite formation looks a bit obscene. (369k)|
|Dipterocarp tree. These types of trees have rough bark, so lianas grow on them. (783k)||Mangaris tree. These types of trees have no bark and hard wood, so lianas cannot hold on to them. There were quite a few very large ones in the secondary growth forest. They are worthless as timber, so they were not cut down when the forest was harvested. (555k)||Huge buttress roots of one of the large trees. (786k)||Tree with Strangler Fig. This one is not yet too big for the tree. (739k)||Tree with Strangler Fig. This one is already covering most of the tree. (762k)|
|Strangler Fig. The tree itself has already died, you can see through between the various parts of the Strangler Fig. (682k)||Tree with extensive root system. (783k)||Palm tree. The pattern of the palm fronds against the sky looks psychedelic. (1072k)||Mangroves. (772k)||Bamboo. (933k)|
|Very young bamboo shoot. This shoot is only a couple of days old. They grow VERY fast. (658k)||Insets were doing a number on the leaves of this tree. (564k)||Interesting looking plant growing up the side of this tree. (597k)||The young leaves of many trees are red. They turn green when they mature. (784k)||Rattan. This is spiny stuff. (960k)|
|Close-up of a rattan plant with the big thorns. (517k)||Ginger plant. There were lots of different species of ginger in the forests. (544k)||Elephant Ear (Alocasia macrorrhizos). (684k)||These plants have holes in their leaves to better withstand strong winds. (457k)||Bird Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus). (605k)|
|Large fern growing on a tree. They are not parasites, they just use the tree as substrate, they don't get nutrients from the tree. (1035k)||? (535k)||One-leaf plant (Monophyllaea glauca). Each leaf is a separate plant. The whole plant consists of only one leaf. (590k)||One-leaf plant (Monophyllaea pendula). Each leaf is a separate plant. The whole plant consists of only one leaf. (590k)||Moss (Dawsonia longifolia). This is the tallest moss in the world. It can grow up to 1 m (3ft) high. (773k)|
|I was wondering what caused these regular rows on holes in that leaf. The answer is in the next picture. (486k)||The leaves grow rolled up like in this picture. When a leaf-eating insect eats straight through the rolled up leaf, it creates the regular rows of holes. (374k)||Mangrove seedling. The seedlings look like spears that drop from the parent and borrow in the mud under the parent. (889k)||Sprouting coconut. (735k)||Heliconia sp. (384k)|
|Trumpet flower on a tree (Brugmansia sp.). (434k)||Water lily. (343k)||Strange looking flower. (316k)||Purple flower. (515k)||Flower. (391k)|
|Yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus sp.). (379k)||Pink hibiscus (Hibiscus sp.). (404k)||Orchid (Paphiopedilum callosum). (356k)||Orchid (Stichorchis sp.). (306k)||Orchid. (319k)|
|Orchid (Renanthera bella). (340k)||Leaf Litter Orchid (Nephelaphyllum aureum). (349k)||Pitcher plant (Nepenthes sp.). You can see that the pitcher is an extension of the tip of a leaf. (754k)||Pitcher plant (Nepenthes sp.). (519k)||Large Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes sp.). (510k)|
|Large Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes rajah). This pitcher holds 2 liters (2 quarts) of fluid or more. (919k)||Close-up of a large Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes rajah). (628k)||Rafflesia flower (Rafflesia keithii). This is the larges flower in the world. The one I saw was about 60 cm (2 ft) across. (821k)||Close-up of the Rafflesia flower. (578k)||Dipterocarp seed. (465k)|
|Tree with seeds growing out of the trunk. (511k)||Cup Fungus (Pezizaceae fam.). (351k)||Mushroom. (462k)|
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