#atozchallenge: Charas Cave

For the letter ‘C’, I would like to write about an interesting place, called Charas Cave, in Kuantan. It was memorable because I went there to help take photos for a book project.

C for Charas Cave

In 2010, I travelled to various parts of Peninsular Malaysia with members of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Selangor Branch’s Photography SIG (Special Interest Group) to assist Dr. Ruth Kiew in taking photos of dicotyledonous plants. This photo-taking endeavour was conceived for the purpose of updating M.R. Henderson’s volume on Malayan Wild Flowers (Dicots), the very first edition of which was published in 1959.

The furthest we travelled, I would say, was to Kuantan, Pahang, where Dr. Ruth wanted to look for a special plant that grew only in limestone caves. It was a very interesting plant, consisting of only one leaf on a stalk. The flowers grew out from the top of the leaf.

After a precarious hike down into an area of a collapsed cave, where there were numerous rocks and boulders covered with thick undergrowth, we finally went into the remaining intact cave.

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Inside Charas Cave. It was a hot day outside.

Luck was on our side, because we found it! Its name was Henderson’s One-leaf Plant (Monophyllaea hendersonii). It belonged to Gesneriaceae, a family of flowering plants. The plant was discovered by Henderson himself, hence the name.:)  As the name suggested, the plant consisted of only one leaf, attached  to the substrate by a slender stalk. Sprays of flowers grew from the top of the single leaf. It is quite an interesting plant indeed.

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Henderson’s One-leaf Plant (Monophyllaea hendersonii)

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The tiny flowers of the Henderson’s One-leaf Plant, close up

The cave was dark and slippery, due the water and smooth limestone. We looked around a bit before hiking out in the same direction we came from.

In one section of the cave, we saw numerous broken snail shells on the floor. Apparently, birds cracked the shells by hitting them on rocks to get to the tasty snail inside.

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Broken snail shells on the cave floor

 

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Odd-looking leaf outside the cave. I thought it might be insect eggs.

 

After I selected all my photos and handed them in, I thought no more of it. My job was done. However, in 2014, I was informed by MNS members that the book had been published. Best of all, a photo of mine had been chosen for the cover! I wrote an article about it in last year’s Blogging A to Z Challenge 2015, and the article was called ‘D for Dicotyledon‘.

As usual, I shall end my post today with a haiku 🙂

Marvels of nature

Marvels of nature
In unexpected places
Keys to our future?

Khor Hui Min
5 April 2016

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Looking at the sunrise from the verandah of Beserah Beach Guesthouse, where we stayed for two nights.

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Members of the photographic expedition at work

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About khorhmin

Freelance writer. Poet. Blogger. Facepainter. Potter. Photographer. Shutterstock contributor. You can follow me @MinKhor.
This entry was posted in #atozchallenge, A-to-Z Challenge 2016, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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