Kinabalu via Timpohon Day 1 - To Laban Rata
We continued on from 'Layang-layang Hut' (elevation : 2702m) after a fairly long lunch break of almost 40 minutes, and passed enticing wild raspberries (Rubus lineatus) at the sides of the trail. The area was more exposed now, and we were starting to see more and more sky. Tiny yet enchanting mountain trachymenes (Trachymene saniculifolia) began to make their appearance, and seeing them reminded me of Nepal as they look remarkably similar to Stellera chamaejasme, a perennial plant that is often seen around the Annapurna Circuit. Mountain trachymenes, like the rough-leaved rhododendrons (Rhododendron ericoides), can also be found all the way up to the summit of Mount Kinabalu (elevation : 4095m).
Further down the mountain however, the small cups of the fringed pitcher plant (Nepenthes tentaculata) are more often seen as their creeping vines wind their way up and around the branches of other plants. Unlike most other species of pitcher plants, the fringed pitcher plant is not an epiphyte, but grows terrestrially instead. This pitcher plant is one of the most common in Borneo and, because it is so widely distributed, comes in a large variety of colours and patterns.
"The wonderful Pitcher-plants, forming the genus Nepenthes of botanists, here reach their greatest development. Every mountain-top abounds with them, running along the ground, or climbing over shrubs and stunted trees; their elegant pitchers hanging in every direction. Some of these are long and slender, resembling in form the beautiful Philippine lace-sponge (Euplectella), which has now become so common; others are broad and short. Their colours are green, variously tinted and mottled with red or purple. The finest yet known were obtained on the summit of Kini-balou, in North-west Borneo. One of the broad sort, Nepenthes rajah, will hold two quarts of water in its pitcher. Another, Nepenthes Edwardsiania, has a narrow pitcher twenty inches long; while the plant itself grows to a length of twenty feet."