40-Day Banana 四十日蕉

This is a variety of banana that some locals refer to as the 40-day banana. This is because instead of 90 days, the banana ripens in 40 days. I think it is closely related to the local variety "Pisang Emas" . 40 days? fact or not, I'll know soon enough. I am now planting them in pots to start them off and the new leaves are growing bigger than the previous ones so that is a good sign.


Curcuma cordata

A very beautiful curcuma species from Thailand. It has beautiful purplish bracts and white flowers with a yellow lip. The leaves are long and broad, unlike curcuma longa which has more lanceolated leaves.


Blue flowers of otacanthus caeruleus

This plant with beautiful blue flowers was a gift from Mrs. Koh, a nice lady who lives in the neighbourhood. Just got the name thanks to Pino of GCS forum.


Curcuma longa (Tumeric)

This is a tumeric ginger from Thailand. I observed 2 main differences between the thai variety and local variety. Firstly, the local tumeric rhizome is thicker whereas the thai variety has rhizome of smaller diameter (they are equally bright orange in color). The local variety produces smaller plant whereas the thai variety has longer and bigger leaves. These are just my observations from the limited number of plants i have.
A must-have in any spice garden cos the leaves impart a very spicy flavour to your chicken curry. Just add 2 leaves (slightly crushed) and your chicken curry is instantly transformed. Some people are not aware that the leaves are used in many curry dishes in this region, not just roots. Not to mention that the flowers are truly beautiful as well.


Caterpillar on Penang Hill

There are lots of these caterpillars on penang hill. They can be found on the grassy slopes near the ginger plants. The many fine hairs are an obvious warning to would-be predators that they are not to be messed around with. I've had encounters with hairy caterpillars that left me with a burning and itching respect for them.



Beehive ginger growing on well maintained grounds of the Bellevue Hotel on top of Penang Hill
Close-up of the "beehive" or "honeycomb". Potential mosquito nursery? I think i better not think about planting this in case NEA come check my house every other day. But must admit that it is a lovely and interesting flower.

Close-up of the real flower. Doesn't it look exotic?


More Pics of Super Rosella

Super Rosella is so interesting. Not only are the bracts big and long, they are very thick as well.


Beautiful Water in Hills of Balik Pulau

A good supply of clean and nuitrient rich water is one reason why the fruits in the hills of Balik Pulau are so good. The water comes gushing through springs higher up in the hills and flow through the plantations, often forming the boundary between them. Along the way, many different plants flourish, like the torch ginger which is found everywhere.

Huge boulders sometimes stand in the way and the stream carves out a path between the boulders.

Many streams come together to finally form a river which flows down the hills. Along the way, small waterfalls and holding pools are excellent places for local children to take a dip.

Above is a still pic of the running water coming down from the hill towards Pantai Aceh in Balik Pulau. Below is a video clip of the running water.


Around the plantation

Nutmeg being dried in the sun. The red membrane is known as "Nutmeg flower" although it is not the real flower but a membrane covering the seed. It has medicinal properties so it is often used to make medical oilment.

Soursop is another local favourite

Pineapples were growing everywhere around the plantation. According to the owner, they need a lot of fertilizer after flowering in order to produce big fruits.

There were 2 or 3 huge mangosteen trees which produced lots of mangosteen.

These were the unriped Duku Langsat!!

Durian Trees at Balik Pulau

Lots of durians high up on the older trees. It seems that the older trees produce better quality fruits.
A spider web of raffia string radiating from the trunk of the durian tree to each durian on the tree.

This was a tall tree so a lot of hard work must have gone into the tying of these strings - dangerous.

Close-up view so you can see how the durian was tied.

At the trunk, all the lines terminated in a circle.

Up above, the raffia strings were looped on top of the branch then tied around the durian. The durians were tied this way if they were of good quality and also if the gound is hard. The owner does not want the durians to fall and hit the solid ground or huge roots. If that happens then the inside of the fruit may become marshy due to the impact or the fruit may open up.

A low hanging durian. I was standing on a large boulder while taking this shot.

Durians above a foot path full of torch gingers.

More yummy durians on a branch. The branch must be straining under such a heavy weight.

Close up of the bunch of durians. You can almost touch them.

Durian Trip to Balik Pulau Penang

Boarded coach from Golden-Mile Complex on 28-05-2009 and reached Penang on 29-05-2009 morning 7 am. Headed for a good breakfast at Jelutong Market then headed out straight for the Durian plantation which is located at the other end of Penang call 'Balik Pulau' which means the 'Back of the Island'. Along the way, you can see Durian stalls by the side of the road (but that's not interesting'). We turned into a side road after some driving and then beautiful scenery greeted us. There was a miniature waterfall, fed by a constant running stream from the hills. This stream flows through many of the farms located in the hills.

Along the narrow winding road up to the farm, there were lots of durian trees. Durians were everywhere. They were even above the car as we drove along the road. As we approached the bends along this road, we got to tweet the car horn to warn oncoming traffic cos they can't see round the bend and the road has a few spots for cars to 'siam' oncoming traffic.

If you survive the drive you will finally arrive, there you will be greeted by the guardian of the place - 'Doggy'

She'll lead you to the stash ......of durians kept by the owner Ah Hoon and her husband.

Some were award-winning durians of past years. Some were local favourites.



Ang- Heh (Red Prawn)

Kunyit (Mow San Wang)