KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia has many varieties of under-rated ornamental plants that can be commercially exploited, said a Singaporean gardening expert.
Plant species like Rhododendrons, Begonias, orchids and Hoyas had yet to be fully appreciated here for their potential commercial value, said Singapore Gardening Society president Tan Jiew Hoe.
For example, the Hoya, commonly known as wax plant for its waxy foliage and scented flowers, is a favourite in-door plant in Europe with societies set up dedicated to these plants.
There are plant nurseries in Bangkok specialising in Hoyas as well, said Tan after launching the book Hoyas of Borneo.
The book, authored by renowned botanists Anthony Lamb and Michele Rodda, was published by Kota Kinabalu-based Natural History Publications (Borneo).
Noting that 72 species of Hoyas had been identified in Borneo of which about 60 were found in Sabah, Tan said there was much potential for these to be commercially developed.
“It would be good to see national park authorities involved in the commercial development of these lesser known ornamental plants,” he said.
On the book, Tan said apart from making Hoyas more known, he hoped that it would help in the conservation efforts of the species as their habitat continues to be disturbed.
Natural History Publication managing director Datuk C L Chan said among those who had contributed to the book was local self-taught botanist Linus Gokusang.
“He is very knowledgeable about Hoyas and has collected 60 species from around Sabah and cultivated them in Kipandi Park that has provided material for the descriptions of seven new species,” he said.