Dec 2019 - Guided Tour of Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, 10th Dec 2019

This is my second trip with MCG and as with the first trip to ISTAC I have been surprised to find such treasures on my doorstep. Rimba Ilmu means “The Forest of Knowledge” and was established in 1974 covering an area of 80 hectares.  The gardens have been designated a Natural Heritage site so hopefully will be protected from any future building development.

We all gathered in the entrance lobby to meet our tour guide, DR. SUGUMARAN A/L MANICKAM who quickly told us to address him as Sugu.


He immediately impressed me with his energy and enthusiasm for the plant world.  I asked him who had inspired him and he told me that growing up as a first generation Indian Malaysian, his mother had lit his passion for plants and taught him all about the local herbs and those brought in from India. 


We left the coolness of the aircon, most of us having covered any exposed skin with insect repellent and followed our guide. He immediately showed us a Tiger orchid listed as the world's tallest orchid. This specimen was not that big. When we asked about the flowers we were disappointed to find out that the plant only blooms every 5 to 10 years!


We were introduced to the Eye of the Cow tree which is an example of a deciduous tree that changes red before the leaves drop. We were shown a nutmeg tree and learnt about mace. We learnt about a certain kind of Mango tree that protects itself from predators by releasing a gas from its trunk if cut or damaged. This gas can affect some people by affecting their skin which if not treated can cause high blood pressure. All this information was given within the first 10 minutes of our tour so you can have an idea of how impressive our guide was, and he was ensuring the Rimba Ilmu was living up to its name. I can go on with more information but there is no need, as if you are really interested, you can go along and find out more for yourselves.

At the very least, this event was a lovely walk in a managed tropical rainforest. For those interested in herbs and their uses and those who wanted to extend their knowledge of plants and trees it was much much more! It was an education. I for one learnt a lot and would recommend this trip if you get the chance to go next time.

The garden is open to the public during office hours and it is possible to arrange a private tour. 


Sue Atkinson