Saturday 12 January 2019

Interesting Place in Penang

When you are strolling up to the Bamboo Backyard along the tractor pathway, take note of your left and you will notice some of the beautiful crops in Tropical Spice Garden: the Silver Joey palm, Johannesteijmannia magnifica, or locally generally known as ‘pokok payung’, or ‘daun serdang’.

The Silver Joey palm has among the largest and most fascinating leaves of any palm tree on the planet. Along with its sibling species, the Slender Joey palm (J. lanceolata) , these palms have been reported to be threatened and Places to Visit in Penang endangered within the IUCN Purple List, 1997, due to poaching and seed collection. Apart from uncontrolled deforestation and conversion of forest areas to oil palm plantations and rubber estates, the constructing of dams and illegal logging activities are also driving the cause of decline in these majestic palms within the wild.

There are 4 species of Johannesteijsmannia species:Silver Joey (J. magnifica), Diamond Joey (J. altifrons), Joey on the stick (J. perakensis), and Slender Joey (J. lanceolata).

The distribution of the Joey palms is restricted to small ranges in Malaysia. Today, we're going to look extra in-depth in the direction of the Silver Joey palm and its unique characteristics.

The Silver Joey is distributed in Perak, Selangor, and Negeri Sembilan, the place it occurs solely in the hilly and virgin rainforest. This species is endemic to Peninsular Malaysia and it seems to be stem-much less with the leaves growing out from the bottom in a cluster. However, the stem or trunk is actually shaped beneath ground, out of sight. The plant can attain a top of up to three metres with its massive diamond shaped leaves stretching out to two metres with silvery gray undersides. This gorgeous impact from the leaves’ undersides nevertheless, is extra noticeable at night if you shine a light straight at it. A lovely sight to behold throughout our Night Walks!

The indigenous communities used the leaves of the palm as an ‘atap’ or roof thatch for small shelters and houses. Nonetheless, when zinc roofs start to switch the rooftops of the villages, they rarely use the leaves nowadays. Furthermore, medicinal values of Silver Palm was recorded in Johor, where the petioles are burnt and the ashes, with some water added, are utilized topically to the body, especially to ease respiratory problems and small wounds. The seeds are boiled with water and the concoction is taken orally to reduce fever among children. The seeds can be grated into powder and applied to the face, chest or tongue for relieving sore throat, cough and asthma.

There may be an growing demand for these palms as a decorative because of their unique appearance, thus unlawful harvesting and uncontrolled seed harvesting had been the principle risk to their survival. Furthermore, the growth development of Silver Joey is a very sluggish course of - taking as much as many years - and irresponsible humans would poach younger specimens earlier than the young vegetation have the chance to stabilise and thrive in their pure habitat. The inflorescences appeal to stingless bees (Trigona spp) and they're believed to be one of the essential pollinators. Of course, once you visit our backyard through the Night time Walks, you would possibly observe the inflorescences attracting a wide range of bugs and bugs too!

The Silver Joey Palm is indeed a singular palm species that deserves our consideration and appreciation. There were surveys carried out in orang asli communities in Peninsular Malaysia and plainly the orang asli have been gathering the seeds or live specimens for sale. That, and with the rising fee of deforestation in West Malaysia, the cultivation of Silver Joey palms in nurseries becomes a sliver of hope in preserving the species for future generations. Most significantly, the safety of the Johannesteijsmannia lies in educating indigenous and native communities, and exotic plant collectors with a view to save this species from extinction within the wild.

Next time, we’ll elaborate extra on the remaining 3 species of Johannesteijsmannia! Come over to Tropical Spice to witness the fantastic thing about Silver Joey Palm!