Mistletoe Fig

Mistletoe Fig, Ficus Deltoides, Mas Cotek
A native of the Malayan archipelago, the plant species are male and female. The leaves of female species are big and round in shape, while the male species are small, round and long in shape.

Ficus are one of the most important components of tropical forest ecosystems suppling fruit throughout the year to a range of small animals sometimes when other sources are in short supply.

"Different parts of the plant are used traditionally to treat various kinds of ailments. The fruits are used to relieve headache, chewed for toothache and cold, whereas powdered root and leaves of the plant has been applied externally to wounds and sores. Additionally, root and leaves around the joints for relief of rheumatism and traditionally consumed as herbal drink for women after childbirth to help in strengthen up the uterus." from here/

Roost, Repurposed & Recycled

Salad bar and frozen yogurt menu items have been expanded to include things like sausage and mash since they expanded downstairs but the charm of the upstairs lounge with the hand built upcycled furniture is still this place's main draw.  A quiet chill out place in downtown JB where you can admire the inspired decor - wooden hanger chandelier and cardboard chairs, with a coffee or a beer.

Roost, Repurposed & Recycled is on 14, Jalan Trus Johor Bahru. They are open Mon - Sun: 18:00 - 12:00.

Reliving Johor's Green heritage - New Straits Times

BOUNTIFUL NATURE: Students cultivate a relationship with the environment by getting to know local trees, plants, fruits and flowers by name

JOHORE BAHRU: JOHOR Green, a social enterprise with a concern for green issues in the state, recently engaged a group of 30 students from Sri Ara Private School  about our landscape.
Facilitator Chris Parry, who is Johor Green founder, said that our landscape defines our identity and challenged the students to think about Johor's green heritage.
Foreign students including Japanese, Australian, Indian, Pakistani and Malaysians gave interesting responses which are indicative of how urbanisation and modern consumerism has changed our perception of the landscape in our neighbourhood.
While the delicate rose is the pride of England, the Japanese treasure their cherry blossoms and even have festivals to celebrate them. When we think of the landscape in the Wild Wild West, thoughts of the desert, cactus and tumbleweed come to mind.
Cowboys are so inspired by their landscape that they composed songs about lonesome pines and the prairies.
Very often we are better acquainted with flora and fauna that we see in movies and hear from songs rather than those at our very doorstep.
In fact, many of our local plant species have been overshadowed by the more showy South American species like heliconias and bougainvillea.
Is it then not surprising to discover that our national flower, the hibiscus or bunga raya, is not native to Malaysia?
Parry, a former New York-based graphic artist, is a textile designer with a passion for botany and gardening.
Having lived abroad for many years, he has a special affinity for local flora and encouraged the students to cultivate a relationship with the environment by getting to know local trees, plants, fruits and flowers by name.
By illustrating that we respond more spontaneously to helping people we know by name rather than to strangers, he hoped that the students will get better acquainted with local botanical treasures and value our environment for future generations.
To create an awareness of the wealth of our green heritage, the students were introduced to a range of local plants, many of which are usually ignored on roadsides or uninvited into our gardens.
As Parry discussed with the students, a variety of twigs with leaves and flowers were passed around for the students to touch and smell.
He encouraged them to learn their common and scientific names, where they commonly grow, how they can be an inspiration for art and their cultural and heritage importance in our community.
A recent Johor Green initiative called Our Green Heritage is portrayed in original artworks that feature familiar Malaysian flora for sale as posters, notebooks and cards.
Some of these materials were used to interest the students in the local landscape and to show them how ordinary flora can inspire the composition and creation of stunning artwork.
"We plan to organise talks in local schools and promote the idea of knowing the names of our Malaysian flora, recognise the beauty and breath of our botanic diversity and also our rich history of local ethnobotanic traditions that use plants to make everything from food colouring to furniture," said Parry.
"We hope to spark an interest among the youth and let them be curious to find out more for themselves," he added.
When Parry demonstrated how blades of common lalang (Imperata cylindrica) can be turned into shooting arrows, the boys in particular, were fascinated at how this grass can also become a toy.
Lalang also provides important building material for birds like the Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus) that weave the long blades to make their hanging homes while the Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectrinia jugularis) uses the white, long, fine hairs of the lalang fruits to line their nests.
The discussion on ethnobotany or the understanding of what people do with plants in the cultural and traditional context held their rapt attention as students discovered how plants, leaves and flowers are also used in local recipes.
For instance, the vivid deep blue colour of the Blue Pea Flower (Clitoria ternatea) is used as a food dye in popular Peranakan food like nyonya kueh and nasi kerabu in Kelantan Malay food.
They also found out that kaffir lime or limau purut leaves are just as essential an ingredient in tom yam soup as slices of torch ginger flower or bunga kantan are in assam laksa.
There was also a question and answer session and finally, the students gave their views about what they learnt. It was interesting that the students could name at least one thing each because this shows that Johor Green has planted a seed of interest that would be nurtured in the youths as they begin to relate to the local landscape.
Johor Green aims to inform, inspire, connect and encourage people to take a social path to a greener Johor.
For more details on Johor Green and future events, visit www.johorgreen.com.

By Peggy Loh, in the New Straits Times: Reliving Johor's green heritage


'Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.' Plato. 

As it turns out, our #greenliteracy initiative is teaching not only children but adults too about what are better, more sustainable, environmentally friendly and ethical choices. We do this through our website, social media, press and talks and workshops.

Blue Pea Flower

Blue Pea flower, Butterfly Pea flower, Bunga Telang, Clitoria Ternatea is a climber native to tropical equatorial Asia. The vivid deep blue flowers find local ethnobotanical use in  Peranakan food as well as Kelantan Malay food.

It is also regarded as a source of medicine in the Ayurvedic and folk tradition where the leaves are used to treat pimples and pustules; water from the soaked leaves used as an eye wash in mild conjunctivitis; and roots used as a purgative.

A modern use for this protein rich legume is as a 'tropical alfalfa', a low cost source of animal feed, green manure and cover crop in rubber and coconut plantations.


"In the natural system of plant regeneration in Malaysia, lallang (Imperata cylindrica) and ferns are usually the first plants to colonize an exposed patch; wind delivered seeds and spores set quickly and cover the entire area, anchoring the soil and providing an acceptable environment for the next wave of colonists, like senduduk, or Melastoma." from Rimbun Dahan

"It is an important nesting material for birds such as the Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus). These birds make use of the long blades of grass to construct symmetrical hanging homes for which they are known. Birds such as the Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectrinia jugularis) also use the white long fine hairs of the fruits to line their nests. Lallang patches can also be nesting sites. Slaty-breasted Rails (Rallus striatus) are known to have nested among lallang."  from Wetlands

Green Heritage Gallery

Our Green Heritage
Mangrove Various about 48 species

Tembusu Fagraea fragrans

Ferns Various more than 600 species
Torch Ginger, Kantan Etlingera elatior
Lallang Imperata cylindrica
Bamboo Orchid + Fork Fern,
Arundina graminifolia + 
Dicranopteris Linearis 
Coleus Various
Blue Pea Flower Clitoria Ternatea
Citrus, Kasturi Citrofortunella microcarpa,
Nipis Citrus aurantifolia

Mistletoe Fig Ficus Deltoides Mas Cotek

Pepper Piper Nigrum
Hibiscus Chinensis

Casuarina Equisetifolia
Red Sealing Wax Palm Cyrtostachys renda

Durian Orchard  Durio zibethinus L.
Cempaka Michelia Champaca
Wild Orchid Bulbophyllum Vaginatum
Begonia Begonia Grandis

Green Heritage

The Japanese treasure their cherry blossoms, the English their daffodils and oak trees. They ooh and aah about the autumn leaves in Connecticut and cowboys sing of lonesome pines and prairies. World culture is rife with reference to landscape, and some countries even export it- there’s a huge Matsuri festival in Brooklyn every year to celebrate the cherry blossom and the Christmas tree that began its cultural life in Germany now also lines Orchard road in Singapore every year in December. 

What of our Malaysian landscape? Who will write a poem of the Tembusu tree or paint the Lallang swaying in the breeze or the moon in a Durian Orchard? Sadly, many local trees, flowers and plants don’t even get the time of day here usurped by more showy South American species like Heliconias and Bougainvillea. Many of our botanical treasures are unidentified in plant nurseries, ignored on roadsides and uninvited into our gardens. 

 Johor Green is launching an intitative to treasure ‘Our Green Heritage’. We kick off this initiative by painting the Tembusu at sunset, lallang swaying in the breeze and the moon in a durian orchard and more - we have 20 artworks of familiar and not so familiar Malaysian Flora that we have for sale as posters, notebooks and cards.
But that is not all we want to do. We want to use this material to start a conversation about our landscape. We plan to organize talks in local schools and evangelize the idea of knowing the names of our Malaysian flora and to recognize the beauty and breadth of our botanic diversity and also of a rich history of local ethnobotanic traditions using plants to make everything from food colouring to furniture. We also want to spark an interest with the creative community to look to local flora and landscape themes  and  to build a local knowledge map of this ‘green heritage’- more about that later. 

Why are we doing this? Here’s our reasoning. Maybe if we loved our landscape more we might not be so indifferent to its destruction or disappearance. If children were asked to name the trees that they drive by each day, maybe when they grow up they will not let those trees be cut down to build a shopping mall. When they grow up and remember the sunset through the Casuarina trees on Danga Bay maybe this is what will call them home when they have finished their studies abroad. Our landscape is not only our heritage it is the essence of home. To treasure it is to make it of such value that we will not be able to bear leaving or losing it. Who knows we may even end up exporting it - instead of importing someone elses. 

Check out our Events Page to see where we will be. Come see what we are doing and talk to us!

Check out the Green Heritage Gallery:

Follow Johor's board Green Heritage - Gallery on Pinterest.

Pulau Tioman

Although Pulau Tioman isn't technically in Johor, the gateway to the island, Mersing, on the east coast of Johor state, is where the ferry that takes you there is found .

Legendary as the location for the movie South Pacific, this island continues to rank as one of the best beach destinations in the world. Juara on the east coast made it this year to CNN's Best 100 beaches for 2013 and is becoming a well known surf destination.

Besides beaches, the island also has hiking trails where you can view an environment rich with native flora.

Accomodations range from backpacker to luxury. The island is closed from November to January during the Monsoon season.

N'ice Artisan Gelato


N'ice Artisan Gelato are an artisanal ice cream /gelato and popsicle enterprise situated in the lower ground floor of City Square in Johor Bahru.

Their products have no artificial flavouring, colouring, or preservatives, are made fresh in their store and celebrate local ingredients and flavors.

Find out more on their Facebook Page


AGAS are a local community of creatives that hold regular events showcasing poetry readings, performance, music and short film. This is a community that intuitively makes low carbon choices often staging their events outdoors in parks and fueled only by candelight and acoustic guitars.

Check out their next event on their facebook page.

Check out the published work of the writers and illustrators in this community at Gobok Buku

Towards a Greener Johor - New Straits Times

SHARING IDEAS: Johor Green aims to inform, inspire and encourage more people to join them in creating sustainable gardens

  THEY may have different interests and come from various backgrounds but a group of individuals in Johor Baru share a common concern for green issues.
    Aware that rampant consumerism is leading to unhealthy lifestyles that compromise our planet, they want to do something about it.  At a garden party organised by Johor Green, they learnt  about reviving the lost art of gardening, self-provisioning and techniques to create a sustainable garden.

  Johor Green is a group which feels strongly that there are many in the state who share their concern and aims to inform, inspire, connect with and encourage more like-minded people to join them on this path to a greener Johor.

  Last Saturday afternoon they hosted a garden party to celebrate the garden's enduring role as a source of food, medicines, sanctuary and inspiration.

  Guests enjoyed refreshments, not just in the garden but from the garden, learnt new technologies and were reminded of proven ideas that were respectful of the environment.

  In the garden aesthetics segment, Chris Parry discussed garden design, colour palette ideas, xeriscaping and therapeutic landscapes that are created with indigenous plants.

  A graphic artist and textile designer with a passion for gardening, Parry writes a gardening blog called The Occasional Gardener.  He presented various gardening ideas, including a vertical dark garden (with a dark colour scheme) created with  branches from a fallen tree and a range of native plants, creepers and lichens.

  He  introduced the art of xeriscaping through a gravel garden that was created mainly with succulents or drought-tolerant plants like cacti.

  Xeriscaping, which  is of particular relevance to arid regions, is a form of landscaping that suits  our changing weather patterns because it reduces the need for supplemental  water from irrigation.  He said many of our hardy tropical and exotic plants are suitable for the creation of pretty Mediterranean gardens.

  "I learnt many things, especially about creating the Mediterranean garden," said Cheong Nai Cheong of CNC Architect, one of the guests at the party.

  Renowned for embracing Nature in his eco-friendly and sensible tropical designs, he agreed that more people now relish living closer  to Nature.  He is glad that Johor Green is creating more interest in sustainability and reducing energy costs through tropical garden designs.

  Alex Kee discussed composting  techniques  and the finer points of organic gardening and commented with a laugh: "Composting is not rocket science!"

  He assured guests that it was easy and taught them basics such as  ingredients and quantities and what materials we should or should not compost and recycle for use in the garden.

  Those who did not have  space for composting found the recycled chemical drum fitted with a tubular contraption that Kee designed to turn and aerate the materials regularly,  useful and quizzed him about acquiring one of their own.

  "I bought it off him," exclaimed Suzie Yap, who has a similar drum at home and only needed this contraption to help start her own compost pile.

  "My mother-in-law loves gardening," she added, as she introduced her mother-in-law and a helper.

  She quickly explained to her helper about how they should start putting small quantities of organic materials such as  food scraps and garden trimmings into the drum to make compost.

 Belinda and her husband, Ronnie Lim, who were also paying rapt attention to Kee, said they had picked up   useful tips and were  determined to apply what they had learnt.

  Kee, inventor of  the award-winning solar kettle-thermos flask  and solar vacuum tube oven, also demonstrated how his inventions could provide safe, solar-pasteurised drinking water in a sustainable and renewable way, and cooked fresh cencaru fish coated with sambal to serve  with the refreshments.

  He said the oven could double up as a tandoor oven for baking naan and pizza because it could maintain a constant temperature of 220oC.

  Refreshments from the garden included  ingredients that can  be sustainably grown in our  gardens.  There was a delicious luo han guo drink with aloe vera bits, prepared by Koh Jit Huat, that tasted refreshing with a dash of roselle syrup and ice-cubes.

  Freshly baked ciabatta bread and cookies by Lisa Shedd were spread with Nyonya kaya made of three types of eggs -- chicken, duck and goose -- by Stephanie Fam and local calamansi lime and kaffir lime marmalade prepared by Flora John.

  Guests also enjoyed crunching into celery sticks and chips dipped in a tasty hummus dip made by Sue Amy.  Two more delicious dips by Shedd were made with eggplant and papaya from her own garden.

  Local cakes like bingka ubi (tapioca cake) and steamed pumpkin cake, snacks of deep-fried spinach and pegaga leaves and green bean rempeyek completed the menu of interesting quality homemade food from small cottage enterprises.

  For details on Johor Green and future events, visit www.JohorGreen.com.

By Peggy Loh from the New Straits Times: Towards a greener Johor

Garden Party 2013

On Saturday May 18, 2013, Johor Green will be holding its annual 'Garden Party Event' to celebrate the garden’s enduring role as a source of food, medicine, sanctuary and inspiration.

4.00 pm Meet and Greet

4.45pm - 5.30pm Garden Tour
A tour of the garden and presentation of ideas about sustainable garden design, xeriscaping, permaculture, native plants, landscape and more.

5.30 - 6.30pm Refreshments

This is a private event by invitation only.

Press: Garden party

Farm Fresh Dairy Produce

Farm Fresh  is a local dairy based in Kota Tinggi that operates using responsible methods like growing their own grass forage organically. They do not include antibiotics in their feed nor do they use growth hormones. Their product is available in local supermarkets like Giant.

Check out a BFM interview  with Mr Loi Tuan Ee, Managing Director of The Holstein Milk Company who describes his vision and company's practises.