Monthly Archives: September 2013

Leea Guineensis

I came across this spectacular flowering shrub during one of my cycling trips around Taitung in southern Taiwan. Two days later I was back with a camera to take some photographs and for the past hour or so I’ve been researching the Internet for clues about the name and origin of the plant. Without too much conviction I’ve settled on Leea guineensis, although it could also be Leea rubra. The former, as its Latin name suggests, comes from tropical Africa, but the latter is an Asian plant that grows throughout south-east Asia, New Guinea and northern Australia. Either… Continue reading

Common House Gecko

The common house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) is an unmistakable sight and sound throughout much of tropical Asia. Remarkably well adapted to human habitations where it easily climbs even the smoothest of surfaces, this nocturnal reptile hunts for insects that tend to congregate near light sources. It usually hides during the day. Its large and powerful eyes allow the animal to see any potential threat from a safe distance and move away in rapid if somewhat clumsy movement. The ability of a gecko’s feet to adhere to a variety of surfaces is well documented and the vocalisation it produces,… Continue reading

False Bird of Paradise

The Heliconiaceae family of plants is characterised by a large variety of astonishingly beautiful flowers of improbable shapes. The False Bird of Paradise (Heliconia psittacorum) is no exception. Also known as Parakeet Flower, Parrot’s Beak or Parrot’s Flower, this popular perennial originating from Central and South America provides a striking combination of colours – from its lovely pink bracts to strong orange-coloured flowers with dark green spots and white tips. It is widely cultivated in many parts of the tropics, often as hybrids or in colour varieties that differ considerably from the “original”, but still remain highly impressive.… Continue reading