On the fourth day of the A-to-Z Challenge, I decided to write something on a book I contributed photographs to a while back. Originally, I wanted to write something else, but just remembered about this book today. So, I thought I’d write a short piece about it.
D is for DICOTYLEDON
A Photographic Adventure in Search of Wild Flowers
In 2010, I travelled with members of the Malaysian Nature Society Selangor Branch’s Photography SIG (Special Interest Group) to various parts of Peninsular Malaysia to assist Dr. Ruth Kiew in taking photos of dicotyledonous plants to update M.R. Henderson’s volume on Malayan Wild Flowers (Dicots) which was published way back in 1959.
Plants are classified by botanists to be either monocotyledons or dicotyledons. Most people simply refer to them as monocots or dicots. Dicots have two cotyledons in the seed and usually have flower parts in multiples of four or five. Other characteristics include pollen with three pores, and the capacity for secondary growth.
Armed with my wonky Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS compact digital camera, I was impressed by the pros with their advanced DSLRs. However, I decided to contribute anyway, and off we went to various parts of Selangor and Pahang to take photos. Dr. Ruth Kiew was very polite and knowledgeable, and we learnt a lot from her about the wild flowers of Malaysia.
“The purpose of this book is to enable non-experts to identify the majority of the smaller plants found not only in the forest, but also by roadsides, on seashores and in the waste spaces of Malaya.” So wrote M.R. Henderson in 1959. We carried on the tradition in this revised edition, taking photos in cleared landscapes, on beaches, at the roadsides, on hills and in collapsed caves. It was quite an adventure for me, particularly navigating the rocks of the collapsed caves in Kuantan, Pahang.
After I contributed all my photos, I relegated the memory of this little adventure to the back burner and thought no more of it.
In 2014, I was informed by friends and fellow members of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) that the book has been published. Lo and behold, a photo of mine had been chosen for the cover!
I did not think my photo selected for the cover was outstanding in any way, but I think the plant was important. 🙂 It is called Henderson’s One-leaf Plant (Monophyllaea hendersonii), which belonged to Gesneriaceae, a family of flowering plants. The plant was discovered by Henderson himself, hence the name. 🙂 It is only found in limestone caves, and in this case, we came across it in a collapsed cave. As the name suggested, the plant consisted of only one leaf, attached to the substrate by a slender stalk. Sprays of flowers grow from the top of the single leaf. It is quite an interesting plant indeed.
In addition to this, a few other photos I took were selected to be included in the photographs of plants at the back of the books.