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Monday, March 29, 2010

— Photos by Robert Yeoh / Text by Mary Margaret

UNDERGROWTH: While walking we may observe mushrooms or other fungi fruiting bodies. Most fungi is invisible to the naked eye but some fruiting bodies are truly spectacular, for example this yellow mushroom which looks like a flying saucer. Fungi, which are neither plants or animals,but have a separate kingdom, are important decomposers and assist with the release of nutrients from dead material so that they can be recycled.k

SAMA Jaya Forest in Tabuan Jaya, a 38-ha green oasis in an urban jungle, is a refuge for many small animals including insects and other invertebrates,birds, reptiles and mammals. If you are lucky you may see or hear long-tailed macaques calling or jumping between the trees while you are taking in the delights of this small, but heavily used park. We cannot but notice the trees — towering giants to saplings. The leaves of each tree are different shapes (oval, round, irregular), colours (jade, emerald, dark green) and size (tiny to gigantic). Sometimes the newly emerged leaves are pink or red. Sama Jaya Forest Park contains much beauty. To be captivated by it we only need to stop and look.
TASTY SNACK: These newly unfurled red leaves were munched on, probably by insects, even before they opened.
PRETTY WINGS: Butterflies and moth members of the Lepidoptera family are delicate insects that flit in and around the flowers of Sama Jaya Nature Park and on a visit we can normally see these beautiful creatures. They are one of the two types of insects to have wings covered with scales. Butterflies are active during the day, unlike moths, which are generally on the move at night. Butterflies, unlike moths, do not fold in their wings. Both go through complete metamorphosis from the egg stage to the larval stage to the chrysalis and finally to the adult. Adult butterflies have mouth parts that enable them to drink nectar. They are an intricate part of the web of life as pollinators and as food for other animals

ATTRACTIVE: Simpoh air (Dilleni suffruticosa), a member of the Dilleniaceae family, is a tall shrub that can reach seven metres. It can be seen in several places in the park. It has large oval leaves, 24 to 45 centimetres long and 12 to 20 centimetres wide, which resemble elephant ears, thus it is also known by the other name of Simpoh gajah (elephant). This common pioneer species can be recognised not only because of its distinctive leaves, but also due to its large bright yellow flowers, which attract insect and  birds

                                           JUNGLE BLOOMS: Beauty in small packages

ANCIENT SPECIES: In places, ferns appear along the walking and jogging paths. These are non-flowering plants that have roots, leaves and stems but produce via spores. Light-loving ladder ferns, probably Nephrolepis spp, rapidly fill in the gaps in the forest via its aggressive underground stem

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