The Old Book of Java Plant

What is the rarest plant in Java? That question came out from my nephew mouth. Its looks an easy question, but the answer turned out to make scratching of your head. What did the rarest plant species? Among the variety of plants in the land of Java. Then how to find out?

For me with a variety of busy urban affairs, obviously it difficult to find answers to the original question was. Because finding a plant, has been difficult in urban areas. Coupled with the rarest anyway. Then how to give an answer to my nephew?

Feint lying to hell for sure could have been. Stay mention just one of the names of plants that I ever knew. Name the most difficult, it must stay nephew nodded knowledgeably understand.

But it’s called a lie, and obviously not the best solution. It will be spread to other lies. So what to do? While the niece kept waiting for an answer with an open mouth.

Fortunately, when the cold sweat began to flow. I am reminded of a recent book given a friend of mine. It a book about ‘Mountain Flora of Java’. A thick book with a bright green cover. Authorship of a Dutch nationality named CGGJ van Steenis.

Then, with feeling a bit awkward I read each chapter in the table of contents. There are chapters on the history, climate, forest fires, as well as a discussion of a variety of biological interest, elevation zones and animals. Fortunately also, in chapter 14, there is a discussion of common plants and rare mountain. I immediately read the chapters listed on page 77 in the book with the shiny paper. Smile soon sprout, when with very easy I find answers to questions from my nephew, who had earlier made me cold sweats.

You want to know the answer too?

This is the answer: “Scarcity is diverse. Primula (42-4) is definitely an endangered species. In Java, Primula known only in four mountain. However, in three of the four mountains, namely Mount Pangrango, Papandayan and Iyang, Primula grown unusually many suitable in places, while in the Sumbing mountain, just grow Primula local chippy. “

Primula is Mysterious

Thus, one problem I’ve done that day. With tactical language, such as style of writing the author of this book, I closed the discussion of the rarest plants in Java with a satisfied smile.

There is no cost to this book. Though initially I was a bit lazy to take it. Technically too scientific to me. This present moment, it is better to read the conversation light. Head feels dizzy already received numerous problems, if must read scientific books. Moreover, complete with complicated names, typical of latin language that serves as a guide to distinguish different types of flora.

But, I spend another night look of the book again. Actually unique book is 259 pages thick. Jenny A. Kartawinata, the translator and editor of the manuscript, is said true that this book has a different side than mere scientific books.

“Outlined with a relaxed style of personality, Amir Hamzah and Moehammad Toha, paint all plant species were exposed colored botanical paintings displayed in an accurate and beautiful as the original,” she says, at our meeting in the Institute Indonesian Academy of Sciences (LIPI).

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Types of flora images displayed in the book Flora of Java.

Listed on the first page, there are at least 456 species of plants in this book, and also comes with 57 color images. The images were also introduced me to a form of Primula. Although initially a little difficult to understand techniques for drawing, through the index beside names of plants. As in Primula, which numbered 42-4 index, such as not showing any hint than 42 pages or 42 images. I took the first option. Page 42 apparently addressed the issue in a forest fire. No single description of Primula in it. There is little information about Anaphalis, which makes me remembered the experience of mountain climbing. At first I thought this flower is a most rare in mainland Java. Because of all that’s sacred flower for the climbers. Impression is hard to get, as well as the toughness to survive, making these plants flower has its own respectable position. But apparently, the ability to survive even put him in the average mountain in Java. While scarcity means minimal in various places.

Before tend to be wordy, I immediately open index page at the back of the book. Primula farinosa and imperialist writings only shows the number 42-4. I’ve surely now, the index shows the image number. 42 sheets of drawings, quickly discovered immediately. On the left-side and right-side box images, looks small numbers. Ranging from 1 to 5c. Picture number 4, not too difficult to see. A plant with long red main stalk. The flowers are yellow, connected by a green stalk.

To be honest there was never ever see it in my mind. In the explanation on the opposite page, Primula most discussed than four other plant species. Interestingly, an explanation of the presence of flowers in the mountain Pangrango region. I’ve climbed that mountain, remembering what I’d read again. Because maybe ever seen. Sentences that explain the possible positions are plants, namely around the swamp near a small river, still not issued a picture in my brain. Even when the possibility of growing interest both locations, the mountain Papandayan stated, still no figure of Primula never mind filling memory.

In the same book, Junghuhn – the legendary mountaineer adventurer researchers in Java – said never seen this plant in Pangrango. He prefers this flower called Primula Imperialists, rather than prolifera. He said the plants were much smaller in near the top, with a few plants scattered around the mossy forest is not dense up to 50 meters below the summit.

Another explanation, Junghuhn also added that had seen then, after making the trail in the area of Kandang Badak. It placed known as a saddle area between Mount Pangrango and Mount Gede, who then passed many regularly until now.

“Along a similar path this ditch, water-borne seeds rain down and the plant is found in a ditch along the row. There is also growing abundantly near the hut in the Valley currently (?), ” Steenis analysis through Junghuhn thinking, in paragraph discussion.

After reading it all, it still is not issued a fool brain memory. I did not remembering all any plant looks like Primula. Even my memories about Kandang Badak area, and small gullies, never the slightest remind me never seen this flower.

Process of searching becomes more interesting. Because of curiosity, I opened the photos page. I thought, maybe there are one or two photos, which somewhat explains the original form of the plant. In the photograph number 17, on page 83, looks small upright stems of Primula. Stalks clustered beneath the leaf weevil. Primula photo’s in this picture comes from Iyang Mountains. Located at an altitude of 2300 meters above sea level (masl). Height of no more than 1.5 meters, dust sheets discussion in the picture 42.

In the picture 25, there is a picture of Primula in Mount Ipis, in the volcano area. According to Docters van Leeuwen, the photo was taken at an altitude of 2,235 meters above sea level, after the rains. Black and white images that do not expressly give the profile of the plant. Primula faintly visible clumps confined clustered around large plants.

Unfortunately it’s the curiosity, not a whole cured. Because of the feeling I had never seen it. But maybe it’s also expected of Steenis, for his readers. In the sentences in the introductory chapter, Steenis explicitly expressing the intention of making the book as a pacesetter. Which in my opinion, more striking as the answer to the question “Is it possible to learn something from mountain climbing?”

Splashing Green Lake

Somehow I am also interested in sight-seeing plants on the lake. Maybe because I often think, if the lake is a beautiful place which is on a mountain. Lake in the mount is the perfect form of hope in the beauty of when to climb. Instead of the peak, which is sometimes more courage to reveal images. Peak, is a limited open beauty enjoyed. But in a mountain lake, a hidden beauty that actually more people can enjoy it.

I think Steenis also feel it, of exposure of several mountain lakes. Marshy lake in the mountains Iyang, known called Taman Hidup, the subject of the discussion was ‘beautiful’ when attention to the words he wrote.

“In Iyang mountain, which is the most beautiful park in the Bermi. When it comes down from the high jungle and stood on the edge of the lake, an enchanting moment. Ducks swimming in the lake and deer roam peacefully on the edge of the forest in the background. At sunset, a bright light shining on the tops of pine trees covering the mountain slopes, “said Professor who had completed basic botany at the University of Utrecht.

He also then line up the variety of plant species typical bog lake, which is discussed in the book. There are 22 types of latin names.

In the study of plants waterfalls, Steenis concluded as the area surrounded by woods, but do not have the special flora. Wall rock with water gushing down almost always filled with pure vegetation and Pilea Elastoma. Two types of green plants are full of fluid. Steenis poetically described by the phrase: “the group leaves untouched the continuous water flow, to reflect sunlight in the colors of the rainbow.”

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Puppets of the flower stalk Xyris, dedicated in many Hindu temples.

At Dieng Plateau are also forms of causal relationships between plants and culture. The images depicted in Figure 20, which is on page 66. In the picture it, at elevation 2000 meters above sea level are the work of human-shaped puppet of the fabric flower stalk Xyris capensis schoenoides variants. According Bunnemeijer, in January 1917, puppets of the stalk Xyris, are used by many Hindu temples.

Junghuhn when visiting this region, illustrates that the area was almost entirely covered in forest, with lakes and swamps are mostly surrounded by forest. Thus, according to Steenis, maybe once during the Hindu temples built near the lake Balekambang in there. Which has now been turned into potato and cabbage fields, pastures and livestock pasture.

Long History

Presumably illegitimate when discussing an overview of the book, without turning the study of its history. Steenis firmly asserted through an understanding of the historical foundations of science. “Knowledge is organized,” said the man who has a wife named Rietje van Steenis-Kruseman.

On that basis he began reasoning about the knowledge of the history of plant collection in Java through the name Carl Pehr Thunberg. Thanks to the intervention of various Dutch people who act as her protector, many years (1772-1779) settled Thunberg nature lovers as well as a surgeon at the Cape of Good Hope, Ceylon, Java and Japan.

After Thunberg visited Java two times in 1777, he later also known as the first scientific botanist acquainted with the mountain flora of Java. Thunberg who is also a student of Linnaeus, the famous Swedish plant scientists, confirmed the character with the release of the book Florula Javanica in 1825. Exactly 50 years after he spent his time visiting the mountain region of Java, especially in Central Java near Semarang, among others, Mount Unggaran and Salatiga, and in western Java in the mountains Megamendung, fitting under the Peak, in the mountains and in Cipanas Gede.

Scientific data retrieval followed by a Swedish botanist others, Claes Frederic Hornstedt. He was a pupil of Thunberg, who served as professor of botany at Uppsala-Sweden. Hornstedt arrived in Java in 1783-1784 range. Unfortunately, although much is known Hornstedt frequently visited mountain Megamendung and Salak mountain in 1783, not a single collection of inventions that can be found in museums Bergius Herbarium, in Stockholm.

No less interesting is the analysis of data from a scientist named Francisco de Norona Spain, who arrived in Java through Manila in 1786. Exploration activities that range in western Priangan region, including mountain Patuha therein, producing a large manuscript as many as 111 images of plants in the medium of watercolor. Now the results are still stored in Paris and the British Museum.

Steenis explanation of the history continues at the French expedition ship berthing, La Recherce on October 23, 1793 in Surabaya. Because of lack of harmony between the Dutch and the French, all crew members were detained. Van Overstraten, Governor General of the Netherlands at the time, and use one of the crew named Louis Auguste Deschamps, to carry out a study of the language and the flora of Java. Deschamps is a nature lover cum surgeon did not refuse such a valuable opportunity. Within a period of three years, between 1795-1798 Deschamps looks busy finishing the affair. In that period, Deschamps also browse almost all the high mountains that are important, like Ijen, Tengger, Lawu, Muria, Merbabu, Sindoro, Ciremai, Papandayan, Guntur, Tangkuban Perahu and Gede. The result, 270 images with watercolors successfully made. Unfortunately the work was ill-fated, as the war became seizure. Remaining by Steenis just a little diary and pictures.

Investigation into another quite valuable flora made Louis Theodore Le (s) Chenault de la Tour, a botanist who are members of the French expedition to another, Le Naturaliste and Le Geographie. Lechenault who then proposed the scientific name for the plant named local Engelhardia ki Rain. Until now, Java script Lechenault of plants are kept in the archives of the herbarium in France.

When the UK then colonized Java, the study of the flora pattern not to stop. Governor General Raffles, then ordered Thomas Horsfield to continue these efforts. Collection of 16 mounts, including a mountain of data on the Coral plant does well. Horsfield in 1819 sailed back to England with all his herbarium collection, and then stored in the Museum of the East India Company, continued its management later. Unfortunately his book entitled Plantae Javanicae Rarories received less public attention.

In 1817, Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt be the first who manages the establishment of Kebun Raya Bogor. This institution later became excellent platform to further explore the flora of Java.

After establishing the Botanical Gardens, the Dutch government established Natuurkundige de Commissie (Commission of Natural Sciences), whose members are assigned to carry out scientific research on plants and animals, geology and geography, with the aim of revealing the natural wealth of the archipelago. Two young men became the first member, Heinrich Kuhl and Coenraad van Hasselt. They operate in West Java, climbing Karang mountain, pulasari, Halimun, Salak and Gede-Pangrango. Their report then that the evidence of a number of rhino nest in the area around the summit Gede-Pangrango. Perhaps because of the report, then the saddle area of ​​the mountain known as the Rhino enclosure until now. But it seems Kuhl and van Hasselt work too hard, so ignore themselves and fall ill. Then in a row they died, because of the pain. To commemorate the services of the two young fellows, two scientific name immortalized on flowers Aggrek Dendrobium, namely Dendrobium hasseltii and D. kuhlii. Then to fulfill the award, the researchers combined the two names became the name for a genus of orchids Java, Kuhlhasseltia.

Then Carl Ludwig Blume arrived in Java in 1818. Researcher famous flora was soon appointed deputy director of the Bogor Botanical Gardens. Before long, he replaces Reinwardt as director. His observation on flora in Java produces books named Bijdragen tot de Flora van Nederlansch Javae Indie and Flora, which was then considered the most remarkable works of him.

But talk about the flora in Java, would not be complete if do not take the name of this one. Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn. Unusually passionate man, has a very big job, and a broad-minded individualist hard. His book Naturwissenschaftliche Topographische und Reisen durch Java, released in 1845. Presents a clear picture of mountain vegetation. The next book called Java, zijne gedaante, inwendige Bouw en zijn plantentooi, the performer Junghuhn instructive style. Physiognomy observation complete with landscaping and vegetation, and geological observations, physiographic and paleontologinya, obviously can be equated with the work of Humboldt in South America.

“Obviously I remember the forests,” wrote Junghuhn in Leiden in 1851. “That right there adorned with eternal green, the scent of thousands of flowers that never fade. Inner ear I hear the wind and the sea hit the banana groves of palm tops. I feel the thundering waterfalls gushing from a height in the heart of the country, as if I was inhaling the cool morning air. As if I was walking in front of the homes of the friendly Javanese, when heavy silence still inhabits the primary forest around me. High in the air above my group of bat wings to fly home to their place of residence during the day. Slowly waking life and movement in the forest canopy. Peacock cried aloud, monkeys continue their game and started a full motion mountains echo with their morning calls, thousands of birds started chirping. And even before the sun coloring the eastern horizon, the majestic mountain peaks far away has glowing golden in color and indigo, from the height like staring at me like an old friend. I ache with longing to clot and I look forward to the day when I came back saying: Peace be upon you, O mountains! “

Utterances that sounded so profound advice comes from experience. Until the researchers could diminish the spirit of flora after him, and chose the subject considers gone handled by Junghuhn. So naturally when the next generation of researchers prefer the technique of studying a particular species, or a collection of the area as a whole. This is evident from thinking of Treub Melchior, in the 1890s. Where he was at that time, who served as director of the Botanical Garden has prepared Flore de Buitenzorg. A research themes include the local flora. Starting from Jakarta mangrove area to the top of the mountain Gede-Pangrango. Unfortunately this Treub idea never came to fruition.

Overall understanding of it, and then drove me to recognize how valuable this book. A research study in-depth observations, which are collected in a perfect understanding of the flora living in Java. For me that was also a mountaineer obviously very useful. As useful, when I considered taking a position as an uncle, who had to answer questions typical odd curious young as my nephew.


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