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Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Penang Hill - Wild Plants

Wild plants of Penang Hill. What do you expect? A small hill in a small island. Moreover, its forest has been invaded from all corners by development projects....

Penang island being one of the tourist spot, often lure greedy parties seeking opportunities for their pocket through projects that disregard the environmental issues. Some irresponsible parties even labelled their projects as "eco-friendly", "Green", "Carbon-free" , or many other well decorated names trying to deceive general public. However, the fact is still the fact, at the end, still the nature ecology of Penang Hill forest being ruthlessly raped.

As seen in the following satelite image, 1/3 area of the island at the east coast (right side of the island) has already been plaqued with concrete. The west and south-west areas of the island, cleared for agriculture, residence, and other human activities. The main forested area of the island has shrunken to a small Penang Hill area (as circled below), and a small hill patch at Muka Head area (The north-west end of the island). And you can see there are many dots of concrete colonies at foothill have started creeping upward. Hey! he who holding the responsibilities and power, have you forgotten your promises: No development project on hill slope!!! (After the Highland Towers tragedy in 1993).
(Bear in mind that this image is years outdated. Present conditions ought to be even worse)

Despite human invasion, what is remain still fight the survival war strongly but hopelessly with the power of nature. You will be surprised with the vast diversity of plant species in this small forest. Every square meter of Penang Hill soil is filled with tens or even hundreds of different flora species.

I am not a botanist or any plant expert. But i do enjoy plants. Every time i hike the Penang Hill i am most intrigue by the surprises the forest offered me. Let me share with you some images of the "exotic" flora that i captured.

I have no idea the ID of 99% of the plants here. Neither i know whether they are Penang Hill native species or introduced. But the images were taken from "wild" habitat with no sign of intended cultivation. Can you help me to id them?

What are these fruits?

Pure white flower from a creeper plant

Twinkle twinkle little stars, tell me what you are....

Fruits? Flowers? Seeds? that comes out from the soil....

Hmm.... Look delicious, but i dare not try...

Ha, this one i know! The flower of rattan. Look at the sharp and long thorns.

Looks beautiful, but i have no idea these flower buds belong to what plant.

This looks like Mimosa. But the yellow flowers suggest otherwise.

Vivid red fruits of unknown plant. Quite common in Penang Hill

Flowers try to group together in the shape of a dragon

Looks familiar. Could this be tomato flowers?

Bamboo. Huge size and length. Used for giant flag of Ching Gay.

Blue!? Really there are fruits in such a blue colour in our forest?

Golf balls? Ping pong balls? marbles? Eggs?.... you tell me!

Arh! It is so dark down here, let me stretch my arm, open up my palm, adsorb as much as energy i could.

What a design! Quite common in open area.

I am sure this is a ginger flower. But what species?

Hey guys! Look carefully and remember this plant. It's Tongkat Ali !!!

The leafs are not special, look a bit like Kacip Fatimah (but it is not), But what are those maroon appendages? Is this a plant of spider, crab or something?

Hmm, really have no idea what is this. Leaf? Fruit? Seed pot? !!!

Banana grow directly from the floor? No, someone told me this belongs to a plant called "Devil's Tongue"

Such a beautiful yellow flowers bloom from the jungle floor

Plant with this kind of flowers could anytime qualified as an ornament plant

Looks like wild orchid to me.


Also cute. And hairy.

This flower looks familiar. Something i have seen in my kitchen. Tea pot!!!

Ha, this is the seed pod of above tea pot.

Another plant with beautiful flower

No need to say, many ornament plants came from jungle. Has this one been "exploited"

Ya, ya, I know 15th of eighth month of Chinese calender (25th Sept 2007. Lantern festival) is just around the corner. The forest has also put up lanterns.

Such a vivid purple fruits !!! Also commonly seen.

You know what is this. Very common here. The Monkey cup (Nepenthes)

Yet another little white flower from the floor. Only found at higher altitude.

Well, sometime hairy can also be sexy

But this type of hairy thing looks scary!!! What is this anyway?

There are countless more interesting plants in Penang Hill forest that in no way i can post all here. You got to take a hike up and see for yourself. While you are enjoying what nature got to offer you there, please be prepared to encounter astonishing scenes of "Malaysia Boleh" or in this case "Penang Boleh" :

Penang Boleh !

Penang Boleh !!

Penang Boleh !!!