Not many may like these slimy critters, except the naturalists among you! These are residents in my garden. Mariaella is a genus of air-breathing land slugs and a gastropod (the base of the stomach used as ‘foot’). A mantle replaces the shell, covering almost all dorsal side.
The Tropical Leatherleaf (Laevicaulis alte) is another land slug; a dark-coloured mollusk with no shell, 7 or 8 cm long. The tentacles are small, 3-4 mm long. It is believed to be an introduced species and invasive. It lives in dry areas and has several adaptations for dry conditions, though very active during wet seasons.
These common slugs of Karnataka are found in human-dominated areas. They feed on vegetation and can be serious pests to horticultural crops. However, I haven’t seen much damage done to my garden plants by them.
Ixora plant is related to coffee plant and belongs to the Family Rubiaceae. Ixora is native to Asia, now widely seen in tropical gardens.
There are about 400 species spread across Africa, India to Southern Asia. They differ in leaf size, plant height, flower size and flower colour. This plant which blooms throughout the year is easy to grow.
Plants are normally sturdy shrubs of 7-8 ft height and the dwarfs are of 1-2 ft. Dwarfs have small leaves and are bushy. Ixora flowers last well when put into a vase with water, making an attractive home arrangement.
Ixora flowers, leaves and roots are used to treat various ailments in the Indian traditional system of medicine, the Ayurveda, especially that of the dwarf varieties.