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The Gardens of the Sun; or, A Naturalist's Journal on the Mountains and in the Forests and Swamps of Borneo and the Sulu Archipelago

Nature volume 23, page 143 | Download Citation



THIS book is the itinerary of a competent and enthusiastic botanist, whose main object was “the collection and introduction of beautiful new plants to the Veitchian collection at Chelsea,” in which he so far succeeded as to add about fifty ferns to the list of those already collected in Borneo, about twenty being also new to science, and to introduce alive the giant pitcher-plant of Kina Balu (Nepenthes Rajah, Hook. f.). But these alone by no means show the floral riches which have induced the author to use the by no means exaggerated term “Gardens of the Sun.” Amongst epiphytal orchids which here growing in mid-air “screened from the sun by a leafy canopy, deluged with rains for half the year or more at least, and fanned by the cool sea-breezes or monsoons,” is found the beautiful Phalœnopsis grandiflora; nor in the mountain vegetation are like floral riches absent; at 5000 feet the curious pitcher-plant, Nepenthes Lowi, was found epiphytal on mossy trunks and branches, and higher still a “large-flowered rhododendron, bearing rich orange flowers two inches in diameter, and twenty flowers in a cluster.” The forests and gardens of Borneo are equally rich in native and naturalised kinds of edible fruits, the mango, pine-apple, durian, rambutan, &c., being all alike plentiful and luxuriant, and, as Mr. Burbidge remarks, in some favoured districts in Malaya the forests almost become orchards on a large scale, so plentifully are they stocked.

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