Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Temburong: Belalong's Ashton Trail - Creepers, climbers, lianas or vines?

Tree climbers are one of the most intelligent or, might you call it vicious, survivors in the thick jungles of Borneo. Quite amazingly, Brunei has many interesting looking ones! Those that have leaves clung on to host trees for support and grow rapidly with the tree to get sunlight for photosynthesis. Some have rooting suckers which are tiny roots growing out of their shoots to cling onto the host trees. Chlorophyll-lacking climbers rely not only support but nutrition from their host plants. Eventually, the host plant dies from the parasitic nature of the climbers. Besides their survival tactics, the climbers vary in colour, size and shape. Some are flat and look like ribbons spiraling around the trees, others look like giant wooden wires twisted around the tree and some tapers across trees and look like giant tapeworms hanging from one tree to the other! Some climbers retain drinkable water, others become home to insects and some produces soap-like substances! I love what Vemuri said about the jungle; "There are many things to eat and drink in a forest .... " Interestingly, climbers serve as passage way for ants as documented by this article.

I mistook this for a red cloth wrapped around the tree until I saw tiny roots on its shoot

This is what I mean by a giant tapeworm-looking rainforest liana

Braiding or tangling climbers

Coiling climbers

If I remember, this liana stores water

Knobs found in the climber, these knobs could be homes to insects.

Leafy vines along a tree

This liana looked like it is really strangling the tree!

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