South America tagged posts

Aug 2012 – Copernicia Alba

Copernicia Alba

Copernicia Alba
(Caranday Palm)

A palm which is widely distributed in South America where it forms extensive colonies in savanna. Countries where it grows include Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. The total population of wild palms has been estimated at one billion plants.

An attractive palm with a slender trunk to about 25 metter tall and a rounded crown of stiff leaves. These have an orbicular blade and the surfaces are desnely covered in wax.

The species can be recognised by the smaller bracts on the inflorescence being tubular.

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Mar 2012 – Butia Capitata

Butia Capitata

Butia Capitata
(Jelly Palm, Pindo Palm, Wine Palm )

An eye-catching and distinctive palm readily recotgnised by its stout, woody trunk to 5 meter tall and graceful crown of arching, bluish-green pinnate fronds. It is native to South America (Brazil and Uruguay) where it is widespread in the drier regions and is sometimes locally common. The fruits are very decorative, being 2-3cm across, somewhat flattened and yellow or reddish when ripe

They are edible with a fruity flavour but rather fibrous consistency. This palm is very hardy and will thrive in temperate and subtropical regions as well as inland districts. It requires a sunny position in well-drained soils and will tolerate well-structured clay or limey soils. Young plants make very decorative and hardy tub specimens...

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Lantana Camara (Lantana)

Lantana CamaraAnother plant that has made a way into the hearts of Malaysian gardeners is the Lantana spps. Known locally by its unpleasant name of Bunga Tahi Ayam (Chicken Dung Flower), this shrub originally came from South America. Today, Lantana exists in hundreds of varieties and hybrids and adorned many home gardeners.

However, once escaped into the Wild, Lantana can grow as a tall shrub and formed a dense thicker up to 5 meters high in open ground. The shrub can also grow as a scrambling plant under the shade of taller trees. Once they found their way into the open ground they will quickly smother other plants.

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Eichhornia Craassipes (Water Hyacinth)

Eichhornia crassipes

Water Hyacinth or locally called Keladi Banting is a native of South America and probably has been introduced to Malaysia in the early 1900’s. This aquatic plant has purple flowers.

Its ability to float on water made it popular plant to decorate fish aquarium, ponds and lakes. It can be used to absorbing heavy metals from polluted water. However, in tropical climate this plant is a scourge all over the world causing losses to agriculture, water supply and blocking river transportation. Its fast rate of growth forms a thick mat of floating roots impossible to penetrate.

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Mimosa Pigra (Elephant Thorn)

Mimosa PigraElephant Thorns or Duri Gajah is fast becoming a major problem in landscape not only in Malaysia but also in many tropical countries. The plant originated from South America but was brought to other parts of the world as green manure and cover crops.

It first entered Thailand in 1947 and made its way to Malaysia soon after that. Today it has spread as far as Indonesia and Australia causing serious problems to human and animals. They can be seen to sprout out of unlikely places such as local electricity substations (TNB’s substations), around campus, along riverbanks and lakes and ponds.

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