- Education and Science»
- Life Sciences»
- Endangered Species
Giam Kanching and Pitcher Plant of Malaysia, closer to the brink of Extinction.
The main forest types in Malaysia fall into 4 groups. There is the Mangrove forests, the Peat Swamp forests, Dipterocarp Forests( these are ones made up of tropical hardwood trees, that are long-lived and grow to enormous sizes. Of these trees there are only 680 species and of these only 6 are Deciduous and these trees can only be found in Dry and arid forest areas.)
There is also the Montane ericaceous forest as well, but it is the Dipterocarp forest that the Gian Kanching(Hopea subalata) grows in.
This tree which is endemic to Malaysia now only grows in a small pocket in the Kanching forest Reserve and this particular species is considered Critically Endangered and on the brink of extinction in the wild.
Dipterocarp trees are known for producing fruit with side-wing seeds and will grow on land from 300-900 metres above sea level. However their numbers have already been decimated by development, agriculture and other land intensive activities including road-building.
The Giam Kanching is not actually a huge tree, and its trunk only reaches a girth of about Metre. It has smooth bark and its timber is known as giam. But they do have a very specialized reproductive mode and this means that any saplings that are generated from their seeds will be genetically identical to the parent tree.
Pitcher Plant(Nepenthes Macrophylla)
This particular species of Pitcher Plant, which is a carnivorous plant grows only in mossy forests and mossy forested ridges at heights of 2,000-2,600 metres on Mount Trus Madi, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
It is the leaves and flowers which make the pitcher shape and dangle from vines, some at least 10metres in length. These dangle at various points along the vine but are similar in size even between the upper and lower pitches but they can reach very large dimensions. Up to 35cm high and 15cm wide. They range in colours from yellowy to red, but a yellowy hue is more common, and are robust and woody in texture.
The tops of these very large flowers are ridged and so waxy and slippery that insects that are attracted to them and land there slide down into the flower itself. Inside there is a pool of acid "pitfall trap" which is secreted by the glands of the lower part of the flower. Once there the bodies of the insects slowly disintegrate.
These amazing looking plants are unfortunatley Critically Endangered, and very rare in the wild. Because of where they grow, which is the mossy montage ridges which gives them a very restricted natural range and because Mount Trus Madi is not under a high level of protection they are subject to over-collection and damage caused to their habitat by careless visitors.
This link is to more about Malaysia, particularly its caves.