Thursday, July 9, 2009

Somah - Ploiarium alternifolium

Somah or Plaoiarium alternifolium (family Bonnetiaceae)is a species of the swamp though it can also grow on drier land. Due to its ability to grow on swampyland, it has stilt roots. Its natural distribution includes Indo-China, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra and Borneo.

Flower and flower buds of somah

Fruits of somah

Somah are used as sticks or poles e.g. for drying clothes. I have seen someone selling somah sticks on bicycle years ago in Kuching. You can find somah growing in Kuching and Sri Aman Divisions, especially on slope along the Kuching Sibu Road. They are plentiful in places where you can find it. Somah is seldom cultivated but the following photos are cultivated somah along Kuching-Bau Road.

I have seen creative use of somah for interior decoration at Oregano Restaurant in Kuching. The restaurant uses somah sticks as decking laid between joists and the light that passes through the numerous gaps between the sticks create a unique and special ambience for the diners.

Source: My Privilege Book
: Photo taken from the exterior of the restaurant. Note the decking (somah sticks) inside the restaurant.

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