Category Archives: Culture

Plants and people in Bali – a quick glance

A huge challenge for a scientifically-minded person is finding ways to see the world beyond the lenses of science. For a plant ecologist with a tendency to view physical landscape in terms of vegetation type classifications and thinking about plants … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Ethnobotany, Folklore, Giant Trees, Shrines, Spirit, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chewing betel nuts – a foray into an ancient practice

Culture catches up with me The chewing of betel nuts (Areca catechu) is a very ancient practice in Asia, and there is some evidence that suggests that this practice has been around for some 4000 years or so. Having grown … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Ethnobotany, Fruits, Palms, Personal Process, Plant Foods | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Curing the gourd, mating the Yerba with the mate

The gourds used to drink Yerba mate, sometimes simply called the ‘mate’, is traditionally made from the Calabash gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) that has been cut to form a cup. Being a natural plant product, the traditional mate gourd requires proper … Continue reading

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A macadamia in Africa? – the Brabejum oddity

Most times a botanist has to go out to look for plants, so that he or she can see the plant alive. This applies especially significant or special plants that piques his or her interest. On a fateful day last … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Ethnobotany, Gondwana, Must see plants, Primitive Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An eye for the Chinese Senna

Encounter with the Chinese Senna Many years back on a lone botanizing trip in a nature spot in Singapore, I crossed paths with a weedy shrub which I recognized to be a species of Cassia. It was a plain looking … Continue reading

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The tree of truce – the Bunya Pine

One of the most beautiful stories between man and plant must come from those between the Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii) and the indigenous peoples of South-east Queensland. The Bunya Pine is a huge imposing tree attaining 30-45 metres in height, … Continue reading

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Jujube, among the most versatile of plants

When I wrack my brain to pinpoint individual plant species which have a large large number of uses, I can only think of a few (possibly due to ignorance on my part). The coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) is one such … Continue reading

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