Thursday, July 7, 2016

The versatile and functional 'Simpoh Air'

'Simpoh Air' thickets at Pipit Wetlands in mixed planting

'Simpoh Air' thickets at Kruak Wetlands

Long shot view of 'Simpoh Air' thickets at Pipit Wetlands

'Simpoh Air' thickets at the foreground
Location: Pipit Wetlands
The 'Simpoh Air' or Shrubby dillenia (Dillenia suffructicosa) is grown here in mass planting scheme or thickets.  It has characteristic broad leaves and prodices fruits much-liked by the Sambar deer.  Thus the shrub  is purposely planted to attract the coming of Sambar deers to the park especially during and a few days after every full moon of the month.  They provide cover for many other animals especially those grown near wetlands e.g. monitor lizards, civet cats, squirrels and nesting grounds for birds.  Many insects are attracted to its flowers and birds to its juicy red seeds.  The 'Simpoh Air' grows well on wet grounds as well as dry areas and thus is a versatile and no-maintenance plant.  Grown as thickets, they reduce much maintenance work e.g. grass cutting and thus minimise costs of care of the park yet attract a  diversity of wildlife.  Young leaves of the 'Simpoh Air' can be eaten as salad and older leaves are used as natural wrappers for food.  In other parts of Sarawak, the long straight stems of the plant are used for pepper posts.

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