Dave Looks for Plants

Journal of a plant explorer

Archive for the ‘#10-Singapore: July 2010’ Category

Heliconia Society Conference 2010

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

In July 2010 I attended the XVI International Conference of the Heliconia Society International in Singapore.  Conference organizer Victor Lee did a wonderful job putting together the conference and post conference tour in Borneo.  As a member of the board of directors, I attended the board meeting in which we discussed various matters.  Presentations were made the first day by the HSI President, Anders Lindstrom followed by a keynote address by Dr. John Kress on the Evolutionary Mosaic of Heliconias and Their Hummingbird Pollinators.  Dr. Jana Leong-Skornickova gave a talk on Curcuma,  Duane Kolterman on botanical nomenclature, Alan Carle on “Flowers, Fruits & Flavours, John Kress on evolution and classification in Zingiberales, Carla Black on heliconias of Panama and Costa Rica, Anders Lindstrom on ex-situ conservation, myself on new Costus discoveries, Dave Lorence on the HSI conservation centers, Hectar Caratini on the Heliconia Society of Puerto Rico as well as some photography tips on using Adobe Lightroom.

The formal presentations were followed by a field trip to Gardens on the Bay which was still under construction at that time.  Then we attended the 3rd Singapore Garden Festival that evening which included a huge flower show in the convention center.

The next day, there were more presentations by Dr. Shuchita Jain on Zingiberaceae in India, Dave Lorence on BBTV in Hawaii, a pre-launch surprise by Jana Leong-Skornickova of here new book on the Singapore Botanical Gardens pocket guide, Jan Hintze on cultivation of Heliconias, Greg Hambali on Calatheas, and Bryan Brunner on the Heliconia cultivar registration program.  I then conducted a members workshop on improving the HSI website which I  was then managing and we wound up the conference with a gala dinner and auction.

During the conference I had a chance to meet with Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat whom I had met 8 years earlier in Thailand.  He had co-authored several new species of Paracostus and Cheilocostus in Malasia (including Borneo) but had maintained the earlier genus name Costus.  He told me that they had not accepted the conclusion by Chelsea Specht that these are separate genera, and thus maintained the genus name Costus for these species despite the fact that they were already very well accepted by most botanists.  

A few of the Costaceae at Singapore Botanical Gardens

I also had a short visit with Jana Leong-Skornickova at the Singapore Botanical Gardens and took a few photos of the Costus growing there.

Post conference tour in Borneo

For the post conference tour we flew to the island of Borneo for a tour conducted by the well known tour organizer, photographer and biologist Ch’ien C. Lee.  This turned out to be a fabulous trip and I would highly recommend his tours.

The tour began in Kuching and included trips to Kubah National Park, Bako National Park, Semengoh Forest Reserve, Borneo Highlands Resort at the base of Mount Penrissen (Kuching’s highest mountain), flight to Miri Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort, Lambir Hills National Park, Mulu National Park, up the Paku River Valley into the foothills of the Mount Mulu massif, along the Melinau River and to the Wind Cave and several other attractions I have not mentioned here.

Altogether it was a fantastic trip with many, many rare species of gingers (rare in cultivation and in nature).  There were a few interesting species in Costatceae, including the Paracostus species of Borneo and some more common Cheilocostus (now the genus Hellenia) species as shown in the photos below.

Borneo Tour photos

Costaceae seen in Borneo

Gingers seen in Borneo

Visit with John Mood in Hawaii

My return from Borneo and Singapore included a few days stopover in Hawaii, so I flew over to the big island and visited with John Mood there.  I had sent many of my own collections in Costaceae there and John has grown many rare gingers he collected in southeast Asia.  Unfortunately he later sold his property there and I do not know the fate of his plant collections (or my own) but many of them I believe were taken to Waimea.