Looi-looi is MBG’s Plant of the Month for January 2023

The Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) Plant of the Month (POM) for January 2023 is the Looi-looi, scientifically known as Freycinetia sphaerocephala Gaudich. The plant is from the family Pandanaceae and is endemic to the Philippines. The genus Freycinetiawas was named by Charles Gaudichaud Beaupre, a botanist who first collected and described the genus Freycinetia in honor of Admiral Louis Claude de Saulses de Freycinet, a French naval officer, cartographer, and navigator who explored Australia and islands in the Pacific. The Latin name sphaerocephala, on the other hand, means round head.

The plant is distributed in forests at low and medium elevations ascending to 1150 masl. It is a scrambling shrub that grows primarily in wet areas of the forest. Its stems are generally color green and have the presence of aerial roots. The leaves of Looi-looi are densely crowded with thorny leaf margins. While its flowers are terminal and or lateral with pedunculated simple spadices arranged in an umbel or short raceme with peach-colored petals. Its fruits are berry-like with many seeds.

Looi-looi is the second Philippine species of Freycinetia that was described in the Botany of the Voyage of the Bonite, Atlas in 1843.

To know more about the featured plant, please watch the video through this link: https://youtu.be/d5N2vDNO5Ts

By AALimpiada and ACMalayba

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