23 Dec 2018 Fruitful Experience for IMU Chinese Medicine Students: Getting Close to Nature

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

November 24, 2018 – We (24 IMU Chinese Medicine students) visited the Rimba Ilmu Botanical Garden at University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur with the primary interest of learning about how to identify actual plant species instead of just from pictures and learning how to preserve a plant sample.

During the visit, we had the opportunity to go on an educational walk and collect the specimens with Dr Yong Kien Thai, who is a coordinator of Rimba Ilmu. Before we entered Rimba Ilmu, we were brought to the information centre for a briefing. This informative centre exhibits the plant and animal life that can be found in a typical tropical rainforest in Malaysia. Information about Rafflesia, the biggest flower in the world is also discussed here. The conservatory’s collection of rare plants and orchids include some of the rarest and most threatened species. This scientific facility supports the garden’s research interest on rare and possibly endangered species. Rimba Ilmu also houses the University’s herbarium.

We have the opportunity to identify plant families such as Lamiacea, Polypodiacea, Moraceae, Dipterocarpaceae and many more. Dr Yong gave a lot of useful information and helped us to collect the plant specimens. Twenty-four of us collected at least 2 samples for a workshop. We enjoyed the 1.5-hour educational tour that was led by Dr Yong.

After collecting the specimens, we were taught how to do press and mount our specimens. Dr Yong demonstrated step-by-step on how to preserve our specimens. We were guided and monitored by Dr Yong to do the procedures. The specimens are pressed and fitted into the size of a newspaper and covered with two sheets of the cardboard. We had a few samples together as there were only four sets of wooden compressors before we tied the straps to keep the press tight. The specimens were brought back to our campus for conservation. It will be placed in the oven 24 hours for one week at 50°C to preserve the specimens’ DNA.

It was a fruitful learning experience for us as we had the great opportunity of learning about mother nature.

About Rimba Ilmu
‘Rimba’ means jungle whereas ‘Ilmu’ means knowledge in Malay, a combination of these words mean ‘The Forest of Knowledge’. This botanic garden was established in 1974 by University of Malaya out of the need to study and conserve the abundance of plant life that is found in the tropical rain forest of Malaysia. This garden is reputed to be the only scientifically organised botanic garden in Kuala Lumpur that is accessible to the public. Located at the main campus of University Malaya, this garden covers an area of 80 hectares where all the living collections of plants thrive. Its main collections include Malaysian forest trees, medicinal plants, palms, bamboos, citrus relative, ferns and other plants. The 1600 species found here originates from Asia, Australia, America, Africa and Madagascar. Most of the plants are easily identified as they are clearly labelled.

Written by Tong Rei Me, CM218

23 Dec 2018|Chinese Medicine, People, Programmes, Students|0 Comments

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