Saturday, 3 March 2012

Strongylodon macrobotrys -- Jade Vine




Strongylodon macrobotrys (Jade Vine) details
drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
 Strongylodon macrobotrys or the jade vine was first seen by westerners in 1854 by botanists who were members of the US Wilkes Exploring Expedition. They were exploring the deep forest of Mount Makiling on Luzon, the largest and most northern island in the Philippines, when they encountered the vine for the first time.

Looking at the photo below and the drawings of this plant, it is difficult for me to imagine how overwhelming it must have been for these westerners as they encountered masses of these hanging vines filled with strange looking flowers of this intense blue/green colour. What a thrilling experience that must have been.  What else could you say except "God is so amazing!"  Such beautiful plants hidden away in the deep forest for all those eons before anyone other than the local peoples saw them. 

Strongylodon macrobotrys, commonly known as jade vine, emerald vine or turquoise jade vine, is a species of woody vine, a native of the tropical forests of the Philippines, with stems that can reach up to 18 m in length. Its local name is "tayabak". A member of the Fabaceae (pea and bean) family, it is closely related to beans such as kidney bean and runner bean.

The plant grows beside streams in damp forests, or in ravines. Each individual bloom resembles a stout-bodied butterfly with folded wings. They have evolved certain modifications to allow them to be pollinated by a species of bat that hangs upside down on the flower to drink its nectar. The flowers are also visited by a species of wasp, and are home to a species of butterfly.

Strongylodon macrobotrys is considered an endangered species due to the destruction of its habitat and the decrease of its natural pollinators. 
Strongylodon is from the Greek strongylos (round) and odontos (tooth), referring to the rounded "tooth".  Macrobotrys is from the Greek macros (large) and botrys (grape like clusters).


Jade Vine Blossoms placed in intricate design
drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


 As you can see from the drawing above, the individual flowers of this plant can create a beautiful design when placed end to end and side to side.  Of course, I couldn't resist playing with the drawing using the "colour inversion" software (see below).

Jade Vine Blossoms placed in intricate design
drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
using "colour inversion" software

Below is a photograph showing how the vine grows naturally.  Notice the long streamers of flowers and massive amounts of leaves.  What a wonderful plant to sit under and rest in the heat of a summer's day in the Philippines!


Jade Vine in full bloom


 I could find little information on the fruit of Strongylodon macrobotrys other than it can grow to be quite large (see below)!  I did read that it is not edible for humans, but that may or may not be true.  Nor were any medicinal uses mentioned.  If any of you come across more information about the fruit of Strongylodon macrobotrys, please be so kind as to let me know.  
 
Fruit of the Jade Vine

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LIVING DANGEROUSLY

If that Blue Jay catches you little Chipmunk, you will be in real trouble!
That is the bird feeder, after all -- not the chipmunk feeder!



It is admirable of you, little bird, to try to clean that dirty mouth;
however, I hope you are ready to fly away if those upper teeth start to drop!



Little kittens have no fear -- which is why cats need nine lives!


In this case, the BIG dog turns out to be friendly -- it looks as
though the doggie is too friendly as far as you are concerned.  Yuck!


Not only is the dog friendly; the big galumph wants to play with you!
What  have you gotten yourself into now?  "Mama, help!"

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SUKI AND SALLIE

Well, you no doubt recall my recent story about Suki and the shower drain.
A cornered cat!
 Well, let me tell you the latest in that ongoing saga.

I thought, foolishly, that after all my fussing and carrying on, Suki would stay away from the shower for a while.  She definitely knew how displeased I was about the whole business and could see for herself how I had weighted down the drain cover with a heavy container.

I was confirmed in this belief by the fact that she had stayed away from the drain and even from the shower since I had loudly voiced my displeasure a week or so ago.  In fact, I had even stopped checking the shower regularly to make certain that she was behaving herself.

Well, yesterday I had to go out for just an hour to get a few things from the Market.  When I left, Suki was sound asleep.  However, when I returned home, Suki was at the front door waiting for me.  I noticed immediately that she was behaving in that particular way she has whenever she is very pleased with herself.  My suspicions were aroused and I began checking things as I went about the business of putting away the groceries.  No, she hadn't tried to get into the coat closet; no, she hadn't covered her dish of crunchies with the small area rug to show her displeasure at not having any canned food; no, she hadn't been up on the kitchen counter which is really forbidden and which she knows will cause me to get very irritated.  I just couldn't figure out what she was so proud of and figured she just must be feeling good.

Eventually, I made it to the bathroom to put away the toilet tissue I had purchased.  It was then that I noticed that the shower curtain was back a bit further than I normally leave it.  At first, I thought I was just being too hyper-aware, but then I turned and saw Suki sitting on top of the clothes hamper looking very smug.  I reached over quickly and pulled the shower curtain back.  I simply could not believe what I saw:  in spite of the bath bench and the full 2L container of liquid soap sitting on top of the drain cover, Suki had somehow managed to remove said cover completely! 

As I let out a yell, I saw, from the corner of my eye, a black flash disappearing out the bathroom door.  I spent the next few minutes looking for her, yelling all sorts of dire threats as I did so.  When I finally found her sitting smugly on the top of her cat condo, I knew it was pointless to say anything else.  I did make one last attempt to threaten her with never having her favourite food again, but she knew, as I did, that I am really just an old softy and would never carry out such a threat.  What a cat she is -- too smart for her own good!

I, on the other hand, have not been up to any mischief.  This is not because I am particularly virtuous; rather, it is because I have been sleeping so much lately.  For some reason I have been very tired and since my regimen now is to let myself sleep whenever I feel particularly tired, I have ended up sleeping quite a bit.  Even though I hate to give up the time when I could be doing art work or other interesting things, I know that I will be much safer if I am well rested.

And so it is.  I was reminded of how important this way of living is for me when I almost had a bad fall at the beginning of this week.  I was trying to force myself to stay up even though I was feeling very sleepy and so I almost paid a big price for my foolishness.  I just managed to catch myself before I fell.  So I have returned once again to trying to be very aware and careful.

I am doing some interesting things, however.  I am making a large number of place cards for a friend's 80th birthday party -- I just created a new poster announcing the next event for the seniors' group at St. Michael's Cathedral and I even used one of my icons on it -- and I am preparing a letter to the Archdiocese regarding those Lectio Divina publications I told you about a month or so ago which are using a number of my icons in the text -- and always, always I continue to draw.  I am truly blessed in so many ways -- especially with the gift of wonderful friends and acquaintances, including the readers of my blog!  May God bless you all.

And may the peace of God be always with each and everyone of us.

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