Saturday, 16 August 2008

Siargao Zingiber Project - 1

Following on from my Pano'on 1 and Pano'on 2 posts, I've got all enthused about ginger plants.

It seems, according to John Mood, a 20-year expert on ginger (Zingiber) plant taxonomy, that we may just have a new species on our hands.

Here, it's called kayaskason, and it's very common. John asked me to preserve the leaves and inflorescence (a la herbarium, pressed between newspaper sheets). This is a bit difficult, because we don't get newspapers hereabouts, and the big fruits don't really press very well.
However, I'll do my best.

I proposed, very strongly, based on the first specimens that Ron brought to me, that the damned plant didn't have flowers.

But it does.

Here's a picture of one, a bud popped into a vase of water at 5pm and open and greedy at 7pm.

I'm not a botanist, so I really didn't know that my photo was upside down.

It looked extraordinarily like the face of one of the local horseshoe bats. Even down to the two very small 'eyes' either side of its 'nose'.

Now, if I was a bat, I'd visit this flower, and land on the strong stem just behind it. Then I'd bend over, and find I was facing the thing upside down. I would be doing 69 face to face with a friend from another biological kingdom.

Probably, I'd lap up all the ants crawling around the nectar, and then lap up some of the delectable stuff for myself.

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