Thursday, August 21, 2008

100 Species Challenge (3-5)

Here's my second entry in the 100 Species Challenge started by Sarah Sours. Previous entry is found here.

Growing list: (in their common names as I like those better)
1. Shy grass
2. Lantana

I'm adding three this week. Here goes:

3-4. Ficus pumila and Bilimbi

Ficus pumila. This is the vine covering the wall of our garden. Its common name is Creeping Fig, but for some reason the Filipinos refer to it as ivy (I'm opposed to this as that's my name and I want people to be accurate about my plant equivalent:D). It's indestructible, so think long and hard before growing them outdoors. Some use them as a decorative houseplant, but most of us here in the Philippines naively plant them to cover walls and other structures thinking that would be quaint only to regret it later because the things take over everything. It's okay if you're diligent about pruning every freakin hour, this way they stay contained (although I sincerely doubt this) and their leaves stay small. As you can see, we've given up on ours and we just meekly allow its invasion. Again, I read about the plant having fruits but ours is all leaves.

Bilimbi. The fruit-bearing tree from which the birdhouse hangs is commonly known as Kamias around here, but its English common names are "Cucumber Tree" and "Tree Sorrel". I love the kamias fruit. It's sour and juicy although eat too much of it and your teeth will get fuzzy. You can also have the preserved sweet version, but I like it fresh and so sour each bite makes you squirm. The entire plant is utilized for something. It is definitely herbal, ex. the leaves and flowers can be boiled to treat various maladies like coughs, thrush, birthing-related inflammation, etc.

5. Nephrolepis multiflora

There are so many fern varieties in the Philippines, but I do think that this is the Asian swordfern (correct me if I'm wrong). I really don't know much about it, whether it's edible or not (we have some varieties that we put in soup or salad) or if it has medicinal properties. It pretty much just appears and grows like a weed. I need to look into this more.

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