Sani Lodge Pt.3 – The Plants
Many trees have evolved to forgo the protection of bark. This wood felt hard as iron and was as smooth as if it had been sand-papered. The reason? The many epiphytes, vines, and competing plants can’t get a grip on the bark for climbing to add dangerous weight and steal precious sunlight from the tree – the tree’s way of saying, “stay off”.
The forests around Sani are pristine and I couldn’t tell you their richness or diversity from other forests. I do recognize different forests. I can see, or more accurately feel, when forests are different. I can tell you that Sani’s forests were not as ‘pretty’ as others I’ve seen. By this I mean tree draped orchids and bromeliads were lacking. The moss or fern diversity seemed limited. From my layperson botanical perspective, and as a photographer looking for an interesting subject, the forest was not making it easy.
Many trees have heavily buttressed root systems. Rainforest soils are poor in nutrients so most trees have a very shallow roots system. Buttressing distributes weight and adds stability over a flat but wide base. The added benefit is that leaves get caught in the buttresses which allows decaying nutrients to return to the tree.
I found very few subjects that caught my eye. Most of those that did were fungi. They are the most important plants, of course. (I know fungi are not plants. I am making a photographic distinction not a biological one.) They take the dead and decaying and return its nutrients back to the poor soils that make up much of the basin. Without them there would be no rainforest. And these subjects offered interesting patterns and composition in ways that the haphazard jungle plants couldn’t. Other subjects were simple illustrations of rainforest life; tree fall gaps, buttressed roots, plant defenses, and even a couple attempts at the jumble of jungle life. Most of it is quite boring from an artistic perspective, and quite crappy photographically, but in all it adds up to the experience that is rainforest life. So with that I bring you – Vegetation.
I have no idea what this tree is but it was interesting enough to make me stop and wonder.