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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 234820, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/234820
Research Article

Medicinal and Environmental Indicator Species of Utricularia from Montane Forest of Peninsular Malaysia

1Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2Kepong Herbarium, Forest Research Institute Malaysia, 52109 Kepong, Selangor, Malaysia

Received 12 October 2011; Accepted 7 December 2011

Academic Editors: S.-M. Chaw, S. C. Land, and L. A. Videla

Copyright © 2012 Noorma Wati Haron and Ming Yee Chew. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The carnivorous Utricularia (Lentibulariaceae) is a small herb of multifarious wet habitats worldwide. Eleven of the 14 Peninsular Malaysian species range into the mountains. Distribution, disturbance adaptability and collection frequency were used to formulate their commonness category. Common (U. aurea, U. bifida, and U. minutissima) and fairly common (U. gibba and U. uliginosa) species are mostly lowland plants that ascend to open montane microhabitats, while the fairly common (U. striatula), narrow-range (U. caerulea pink form and U. involvens), rare (U. furcellata and U. scandens), and endemic (U. vitellina) species are restricted to mountainous sites. Common species that colonise dystrophic to oligotrophic man-made sites in late succession could serve as predictors for general health and recovery of wet habitats. Rarer species are often locally abundant, their niches situated around pristine forest edges. When in decline, they indicate the beginning of problems affecting the forest. Utricularia is reportedly nutritious, mildly astringent, and diuretic. Preadapted to nutrient-poor, waterlogged soils, U. bifida is suitable as an alternative for small-scale herb cultivation on low pH, wet poor soils usually deemed not suitable for any crops.