Malaysia is a paradise of fascinating sights and attractions well-known for its rich and enormous variety of flora which range from many thousands of species from all over Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak. It is estimated that over 15,000 flowering plant species are found in Malaysia. The flowering plants inclusde some 2,000 type of trees, including 200 different palms and 3,000 species of orchids. In addition to that, the world’s largest flower, the giant rafflesia (also known as corpse lily) as well as the largest pitcher plant, the Nepenthes rajah, which can hold up to 2 litres of water also grow here. The plants come in a tremendous diversity in plant species varying in colour, shape, texture and density of leaves.
Sacred Lotus (Nelumbrium nelumbo)
Sacred Lotus is an aquatic perennial, originally from Indonesia and India. The Sacred Lotus has great significance in Eastern religion. This flower is especially sacred to Buddhists to whom it represents the perpetual cycles of reincarnation. It grows up to a height of 19 feet depending on the depth of the swamp or creek it grows in. The roots of the Sacred Lotus are firmly planted in the mud beneath the water surface. It has a long stem to which the leaves and flowers grow above it. The pink or white Sacred Lotus blooms early in the morning and the petals will wilt later during the day. The fruit is a conical shaped pod with the seeds arranged in the holes. When the seeds are ripe, they are released when the pod bends down towards the water. The flowers, seeds, young leaves and rhizomes are edible, while the big mature leaves, sometimes 2 feet or more in diameter, are used to wrap steamed food.
Hydrangea macrophylla is native to Japan and Korea. This shrub can be naturalized in compatible climates. It is a deciduous shrub growing one to three metres tall. The leaves grow opposite each other, in simple ovoid-acute size, 7 to 20 cm long, with a coarsely toothed margin. Its flowers are pink, white or blue, depending on soil pH. In acidic soil, the flowers will be blue, whereas in alkaline soil the flowers will be pink. In neutral soil the flowers will be purple. Hydrangea macrophylla has been cultivated for many years as an ornamental plant in Japan and in the last 150 years, it is also extensively cultivated in other areas of the world with a temperate climate.
In warm climates, Hydrangea macrophylla is good for adding a splash of spring time colour to shady areas and woodland gardens. Minimal pruning is recommended for most prolific flowering. Flowers are easily air dried and are long lasting.
Red Lily (Hippeastrum reticulatum)
Hippeastrum reticulatum is a bulb-bearing herb from Southern Brazil. This plant has a fleshy and straight stalk with three or more flowers. Grown from bulbs, the flowers are trumpet shaped and pink in colour with white veins. The flower naturally reaches a diameter of three inches. Typical broad strap-shaped leaves are dark green with clear white stripes down the centre. The gorgeous flowers are pink with darker reticulations. It does not have a dormant period. This selection is a slow grower and not as large as other clones. This flower is normally grown to be used in flower arrangements and as potted plants.
This woody climbers were introduced from South America. The long vine are thorny and the alternative ovate elliptical leaves are hairy. The small flowers are surrounded by large papery bracts. An evergreen shrubbery vine, Bougainvillea is popular for its long-lasting colourful flower bracts which appear periodically throughout the year.
Most common colours of the bracts are magenta, purple, white, orange and crimson, though "rainbow bougainvilleas with flowers of two colours on the same plant are common today. Bougainvillea can grow on its own as a sprawling shrub or allowed to grow naturally where its will quickly cover fences or climb onto trees.
Morning Glory (Ipomoea indica)
Morning Glory is a tender perennial with heat-shaped leaves and with flowers produced daily from a dense clustered inflorescense. It grows up to 7 cm long, tubular and arranged in clusters of 3 to 12 flowers. Morning Glory is a native of Hawaii and the new world tropics but it has become an invasive species in Australia. It is also present in Asia, although they grow in the subtropical and temperate regions.
Morning Glory is a common name for a number of species of flowering plants in the family of Vonvolvulaceae. The morning Glory flowers often show marks where the corolla was neatly folded or rolled up in the bud. The flowers will start to fade 2 hours before the petals start to curl in.
Morning glory is one of the best flowers to decorate fences and walls. Today Ipomoea indica is found throughout the tropics, scrambling over fences and over woody plants, often to their detriment. However, it is delightful when in bloom.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa sinesis)
Hibiscus rosa sinesis is the state flower of Hawaii and the National flower of Malaysia. Also known as the Chinese Hibiscus, it is probably the most popular and widely planted shrub of the tropics. It is believed to be native to China and spread around the world via South Pacific and Hawaii. This plant creates a bold effect with its medium textured, glossy and dark green leaves and vibrantly coloured, four to eight-inch wide showy flowers, produced throughout the year. Cultivars are available with the combination of single or double flowers in shades of white, pink, red, yellow, peach, or a combination of all these. Hibiscus flowers are basically characterized as single or double forms of variation in the number and arrangement of petals.
Flowers are produced continuously in great abundance, making up for the fact that each flower will last only for one or two days with the blossoms opening early in the morning and wilting by late afternoon. Most hibiscuses are odourless, but some of the basic varieties have a light scent.