Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Visit to Kubah

It's been another busy week or so here in Kuching. I am getting more comfortable in the Sarawak Biodiversity Herbarium, but also I got a chance to visit Kubah National Park over the weekend.

One of the interesting things I love about the herbarium here is their technique for mounting specimens. Sure, they use some glue, but check out this exquisite stitch work done on the inflorescence of a grass ---- a kind of weaving really.  It is a work of art!

Awesome, isn't it?
Anyway, we took a bus to Kubah National Park and stayed in a chalet/ cabin  (= palace) there. The park is about 30 km from Kuching and is half-way up a mountain, so it is cooler and rainier than it is in town.  When it's not raining, it's misty & and if it's not misty, then your're not a Kubah National Park. It is beautiful and greee-eeeen!  Odoardo Beccari, a famous Italian naturalist (ca. 1870), made his home there and amassed a collection of palms there --- it is palm rich, that's for sure. They are beautiful and varied in their shapes and heights, but many of them are also very well-armed.  There were also all sorts of fruit from the trees in the family Dipterocarpaceae --- dipterocarps -- tall trees that I couldn't see the foliage of, but their fruits were delightful! Like acorns with propellers!   There were all sorts of them with different numbers of wings and different sizes, so I know there were a lot of different species!
We hiked about 5 miles one day --- it took us about 6 hours!  The wet paths climbed and descended and luckily were supplied with ropes that you could pull yourselves up with -- bridges were like wet pickets -- slick and thrilling -- no need to hurry over them! -- and in crossing them we saw breath-taking beauty and mystery.  We heard a lot of fauna, but only saw a small green snake -- a pit viper?  I'll post it and wait for confirmation! At the end of the trail was a rain shelter and an unusual plant -- an Amorphophallus hewittii. It's herbaceous, but it comes off looking like a small tree.  My husband Dave took a picture of the foliage -- near my Clemson bag -- I am in the background (in the rain shelter) wearing my old-lady on safari costume.
dipterocarp fruit -- like a winged acorn
Amorphophallus hewittii  

chalet in Kubah National Park

pit viper?

armed rattan, climbing palm

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