Bayabusua clarkei: A little star in FRIM’s backyard


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Who would have thought that the regenerated forest at the canopy walkway of FRIM is home to a “star” in the plant kingdom of our country. Bayabusua clarkei (King) W. J. de Wilde, is among a few monotypic plant genera endemic to Peninsular Malaysia, which means that the genus has only one species and can be found nowhere else in the world except in Peninsular Malaysia, occupying the remaining forests of a few known places like Tapah (Perak), Baling (Kedah) and our very own backyard in FRIM. A relative to the cucumber of the family Cucurbitaceae, Bayabusua clarkei is a thin and almost featureless vine, except for its pretty dark red flowers and foot-long, bell-shaped fruits. This liana is named after the late Baya Busu, a Temuan Orang Asli who worked as a forester in FRIM from 1974 to 2002. Dr. de Wilde, the botanist who named the plant in 1999, recalled Baya’s bravery in climbing to impossible heights, unaided to obtain fruiting specimens on many botanical collection trips. The Bayabusua clarkei population in FRIM usually flowers towards the end of the year. A few vines with attractive wedge-shaped leaves and dainty little red flowers can now be observed from relative close range at the second platform of the canopy walkway of FRIM.

Text by Chew Ming Yee. Posted on 7 December 2012. The weather was rainy with temperatre of 24° to 32° C.