Wednesday, April 22, 2009

China 2009 - 12

15 February, 2009. Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden.

We had a pretty tight schedule this morning, with just enough time to do a tour of the research end of the botanical garden before driving to Jinghong for a flight to Kunming.

It was very misty at this hour in the morning, and the lighting was very dim. It did cast a mystical aura to the garden, which was very lovely.

The research area of the garden is across the river and is accessible via a foot bridge.

It was very still and the sound of birds was all around. The mist made it impossible to find the birds in the canopy, but I enjoyed hearing them sing.

Now, that's a huge strangler fig. The original host tree must have been humongous.

Here's YQ to give a sense of scale at the base of that strangler fig.

Speaking of figs, here's a pollination ecology experiment underway.

Here's another grand tree in the research preserve.

I'll give a sense of scale at the base this time.

Here's our group: L to R - Sean Graham (University of British Columbia), me (Ohio State University), Jim Doyle (University of California, Davis), and YQ (Yin-Long Qiu, University of Michigan).

You need to click on the picture to fully appreciate the signage.

I loved the vein patterns of this leaf. This is one of the early patterns for flowering plants.

The last stop before catching a ride to the airport was the area where cultivars of economically important plants are being assessed. There was a grove of rubber trees and I found it interesting to see how the bark is scored for latex collection.

Camelia sinensis - i.e., tea plants. The ones in the plantations tend to be short shrubs that are easy to harvest. I'm not sure what traits were under consideration with these plants.

Coffea arabica - my favorite source of caffeine.

These fruits aren't ripe, but it's cool to see where coffee beans originate.

Last view of the XTBG - a grove of rubber trees in the mist. It was a very nice visit, and I enjoyed the introduction to tropical China during this part of my trip.

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