Belalang / Grasshopper

Tuesday, July 21, 2009
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The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as short-horned grasshoppers. Species that change colour and behaviour at high population densities are called locusts.

Characteristics


Grasshoppers have antennae that are almost always shorter than the body (sometimes filamentous), and short ovipositors. Those species that make easily heard noises usually do so by rubbing the hind femurs against the forewings or abdomen (stridulation), or by snapping the wings in flight. Tympana, if present, are on the sides of the first abdominal segment. The hind femora are typically long and strong, fitted for leaping. Generally they are winged, but hind wings are membranous while front wings (tegmina) are coriaceous and not fit for flight. Females are normally larger than males, with short ovipositors. Males have a single unpaired plate at the end of the abdomen. Females have two pairs of valves ( triangles) at the end of the abdomen used to dig in sand when egg laying.
They are easily confused with the other sub-order of Orthoptera, Ensifera, but are different in many aspects, such as the number of segments in their antennae and structure of the ovipositor, as well as the location of the tympana and modes of sound production. Ensiferans have antennae with at least 20-24 segments, and caeliferans have fewer. In evolutionary terms, the split between the Caelifera and the Ensifera is no more recent than the Permo-Triassic boundary (Zeuner 1939).





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Bayam / Spinach

Saturday, July 18, 2009
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Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an edible flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae. It is native to central and southwestern Asia. It is an annual plant (rarely biennial), which grows to a height of up to 30 cm. Spinach may survive over winter in temperate regions. The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to triangular-based, very variable in size from about 2-30 cm long and 1-15 cm broad, with larger leaves at the base of the plant and small leaves higher on the flowering stem. The flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green, 3-4 mm diameter, maturing into a small hard dry lumpy fruit cluster 5-10 mm across containing several seeds.

History

Primitive forms of spinach are found in Nepal and that is probably where the plant was first domesticated. Other than the Indian subcontinent, it was unknown in the ancient world. After the early Muslim conquests the plant spread to other areas. In 647, it was taken to China, possibly by Persians. Muslim Arabs diffused the plant westward up to Islamic Spain. By the eleventh century it was a common plant in the Muslim world.[1]
In India, in Malayalam, it is called Cheera (ചീര), in Tamil, it is called Keerai (கீரை) and in Marathi it is known as Palak (पालक), Paala koora (పాల కూర) in Telugu and is one among commonly consumed green vegetables.
Spinach was the favorite vegetable of Catherine de Medici, a historical figure in the 16th century. When she left her home of Florence, Italy, to marry the king of France, she brought along her own cooks, who could prepare spinach the ways that she especially liked. Since this time, dishes prepared on a bed of spinach are referred to as "a la Florentine."
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Pyrrhocoridae

Friday, July 17, 2009
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Belalang Pelesit / Tettigoniidae

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The family Tettigoniidae, known in American English as katydids and in British English as bush-crickets, contains more than 6,400 species. It is part of the suborder Ensifera and the only family in the superfamily Tettigonioidea. They are also known as long-horned grasshoppers, although they are more closely related to crickets than to grasshoppers. Many tettigoniids exhibit mimicry and camouflage, commonly with shapes and colors similar to leaves.
Tettigoniids may be distinguished from grasshoppers by the length of their filamentous antennae, which may exceed their own body length, while grasshoppers' antennae are always relatively short and thickened.
The males of tettigoniids have sound-producing organs (via stridulation) located on the hind angles of their front wings. In some species females are also capable of stridulation.
There are about 255 species in North America, but the majority of species live in the tropical regions of the world.
The diet of tettigoniids includes leaves, flowers, bark, and seeds, but many species are exclusively predatory, feeding on other insects, snails or even small vertebrates such as snakes and lizards. Some are also considered pests by commercial crop growers and are sprayed to limit growth. Large tettigoniids can inflict a painful bite or pinch if handled but seldom break the skin.
The males provide a nuptial gift for the females in the form of a spermatophylax, a nutritious body produced with the males' ejaculate.[1] The eggs of tettigoniids are typically oval shaped and laid in rows on the host plant.
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Cekur Manis / Sauropus androgynus

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Sauropus androgynus, also known as katuk, star gooseberry, or sweet leaf, is a shrub grown in some tropical regions as a leaf vegetable. In Chinese it is called mani cai , in Malay it is called cekur manis or sayur manis, and in Vietnamese, it is called rau ngót.
Its multiple upright stems can reach 2.5 m high and bear dark green oval leaves 5–6 cm long.
It is one of the most popular leaf vegetables in South Asia and Southeast Asia and is notable for high yields and palatability. The shoot tips have been sold as tropical asparagus. In Vietnam, people cook it with crab meat, minced pork or dried shrimp to make soup. In Malaysia, it is commonly stir-fried with egg and dried achovies.
It is among only a few flora containing vitamin K. However, studies have suggested that its consumption can cause lung damage, due to its high concentrations of the alkaloid papaverine.
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Daun Pisang / Banana leaf

Monday, July 13, 2009
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Banana leaf is the leaf of the Banana plant. It is used as a decorative element for auspicious ceremonies in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. It is also used as a plate to serve food in countries like India. Banana leaves though commonly thrown away contain large amounts of polyphenols, including EGCG, similar to green tea.

Banana leaves are predominantly used by Hindus and Buddhists as a decorative element for auspicious functions, marriages and ceremonies in India and Southeast Asia, it is also used for a taste. The Indians also believe that the banana leaf gives a special taste to the food served on it.

South Indian food is usually served on a banana leaf. Some South Indian and Khmer recipes use banana leaves as a wrapper for frying. The leaves are later removed to retain flavor. In Vietnamese cuisine, banana leaves are used to wrap foods such as cha-lua.
In Malaysia (and Singapore), banana leaves are used to wrap certain kuih. Malay food such as Nasi Lemak are also commonly wrapped with banana leaves before being wrapped with newspaper as banana leaves add fragrance to the rice.
In Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, banana leaves and parchment paper form the wrapper for pasteles (similar to tamales). Ground green bananas stuffed with meat are packed inside and then boiled with the banana leaf imparting extra flavor and aroma.
Mexican, and more specifically Oaxacan tamales and a local variety of lamb meat, or barbacoa tacos are often steamed in banana leaves. Banana leaves are used for wrapping pork in the traditional Yucatán dish Cochinita pibil. The Hawaiian imu is often lined with banana leaves.
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Daun Kari / Curry Leaf

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The Curry Tree or Karivepallai or Kadipatta (Tamil: கறிவேப்பிலை) (Murraya koenigii; syn. Bergera koenigii, Chalcas koenigii) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India. It produces the leaves known as Curry leaves or Sweet Neem leaves.

t is a small tree, growing 4-6 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm broad. They are highly aromatic. The flowers are small white, and fragrant. The small black, shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous.
The species name commemorates the botanist Johann König.

The small and narrow leaves somewhat resemble the leaves of the Neem tree; therefore they are also referred to as Karuveppilai (translated to Black Neem leaf) in Tamil and Malayalam, Karu/Kari meaning black, ilai meaning leaves and veppilai meaning Neem leaf. In the Kannada language it is known as Kari BEvu and Karivepaku in Telugu, again translating to the same meaning Black Neem leaf.

Other names include Kari Patta (Hindi), which probably is a corrupt translation of Karuveppilai, noroxingha (Assamese), Bhursunga Patra (Oriya), Kadhi Patta (Marathi), Mithho Limdo (Gujarati) and Karapincha (Sinhalese).

The leaves are highly valued as seasoning in South Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, much like bay leaves and especially in curries with fish or coconut milk. In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life though they may be stored in a freezer for quite some time; however, this can result in a loss of their flavour. They are also available dried, though the aroma is much inferior.

The leaves of Murraya koenigii are also used as a herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Their properties include much value as an antidiabetic,[2] antioxidant,[3] antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-hypercholesterolemic etc.


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Bunga Kertas /Bougainvillea

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Bunga Kertas /Bougainvillea



Bougainvillea (pronounced /ˌbuːɡɨnˈvɪliə/)[1] is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from BrazilPeru and south to southern Argentina (Chubut Province). Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. The plant was discovered in Brazil in 1768, by Philibert Commerçon, French Botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his his voyage of circumnavigation. west to
They are thorny, woody, vines growing anywhere from 1-12 meters tall, scrambling over other plants with their hooked thorns. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4-13 cm long and 2-6 cm broad. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colors associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow. Bougainvillea glabra is sometimes referred to as "paper flower" because the bracts are thin and papery. The fruit is a narrow five-lobed achene.
Bougainvillea are relatively pest-free plants, but may suffer from worms and aphids. The larvae of some LepidopteraGiant Leopard Moth. species also use them as food plants, for example the

Cultivation and uses

Bougainvilleas are popular ornamental plants in most areas with warm climates, including the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, the Mediterranean region, the Caribbean, Mexico, South Africa, Kuwait,and the United States in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, and southern Texas.
Numerous cultivars and hybrids have been selected, including nearly thornless shrubs. Some Bougainvillea cultivars are sterile, and are propagated from cuttings.
Bougainvillea are rapid growing and flower all year in warm climates, especially when pinched or pruned. They grow best in moist fertile soil. Bloom cycles are typically four to six weeks. Bougainvillea grow best in very bright full sun and with frequent fertilization, but the plant requires little water to flower. As indoor houseplants in temperate regions, they can be kept small by bonsai techniques. If overwatered, Bougainvillea will not flower and may lose leaves or wilt, or even die from root decay.

Symbolism

Various species of Bougainvillea are the official flowers of the island of Grenada, the island of Guam, of Lienchiang and Pingtung Counties in Taiwan, Ipoh, Malaysia[1] and of the cities of Tagbilaran, Philippines; Camarillo, California; Laguna Niguel, California; San Clemente, California; and Naha, Okinawa.
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