Plants for Food

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Butterfly Gardens: Key Concepts

Butterflies are nice to have in a garden, they help to make it feel alive with colour and movement. They also become food for birds and carry out important pollination of plants. To have butterflies in a garden, you have to meet the requirements of butterflies. In no particular order, the requirements are: host plants…

Rewilding, the case of urban Birdwing butterflies

Here I explain how you can think about ecosystems and how to restore them. The case study of the Golden Birdwing Butterfly, which can be found in the urban forest patch that is Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden located inside the University of Malaya. Merely reintroducing a species does not produce long lasting results. Butterfly farms…

soil beneath vegetation

Saving the Underground Farmers: Soil Ecosystems

Have you ever noticed the earth that you step on? It is where we get materials essential to our survival. It is soil that supports the growth of plants, the producers of the food chain and the sources of fibre, fodder, and fuel. At first look, it seems static and lifeless. In fact, soil hosts…

Plants for Food 1: Selom

Selom (Oenanthe javanica)Photo by KENPAI (CC BY-SA 3.0) Common name: Java waterdropwort Malay name: Selom Other local names: – Scientific name: Oenanthe javanica Distribution: East, South, and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia Conservation status: Least concern, Cultivated, Native Description Selom is found in the rainforest in Malaysia. Selom is an erect, perennial plant growing…

Plants for Food 2: Ulam raja

Common name: Cosmos, wild cosmos Malay name: Ulam raja Other local names: – Scientific name: Cosmos caudatus Distribution: Pantropical Conservation Status: Least concern, Cultivated, Naturalised species The name of the plant means ‘king of ulam.’ Its scientific name is Cosmos caudatus. Therefore, it is also known as Cosmos in English. This plant is indigenous to…

Plants for Food 3: Pegaga

A carpet of Pegaga leavesPhoto by Shahidul Hasan Roman (CC BY-SA 4.0 License) Common name: Asiatic pennywort, Indian pennywort Malay name: Pegaga Local name: Gotu kola (India) Scientific name: Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. Distribution: East, South, and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia Conservation status: Least concern, Cultivated, Naturalised Description Pegaga is originated from the Asian…

plant shoot road

Biodiversity in Cities

In recent years, ecologists have begun to take a second look at plants and animals appearing in cities. There seems to be more ‘nature’ in urban areas than one would expect. Cities are supposed to be human territories—steel, brick and concrete—not exactly welcoming to wildlife. But urban places display a variety of species and habitats…

billygoat weed

How to start a wildflower garden

The simplest method is to not do anything and let a patch regrow with wild plants. You can remove any unwanted or dangerous plants through weeding, but there is not much maintenance involved with these patches. A wildflower patch that needs to be tended by humans is an oxymoron. If you want a bit more…

The City Tree

Most days, a city tree is just a tree. It stands there, out of the way, but close enough if you need a shaded parking or walk. Other days, a tree will make one pause and wonder. Cities all over the world remember to add trees to their streets and build parks from scratch to…


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