Monday, May 24, 2010

A beauty amidst a chaotic environment!

Clerodendrum intermedium

This post is again inspired by Autumn Belle's post on the same genus, which reminded me i have this photos a few years back in my files. I found this growing in the thicket under secondary growth vegetation. I remember i have been seeing this flowers also when we were children and exploring the wilderness at the disguise that we were playing in neighbor's yard.

Mothers don't permit us if we will tell the truth that we are exploring dense vegetation in the nearby "forest", otherwise known as untended coconot groves left for themselves. The undergrowths have been colonized by thick vegetation of shrubs, grasses, vines and a lot more. Mothers of course are afraid that their kids will be bitten by snakes, scorpions or insects which are dangerous, and of course limbs with lots of scratches or wounds. 

But we kids then have strategies!!!

At close scrutiny, the florets somewhat resemble that of Clerodendrum of Autumn Belle. However, the plants habit is definitely different, this being erect and simple compared to its bushy sister.

This also produces berries or fruits which turn violet or blue when ripe. I just haven't seen birds eating them, that's something i should know later if i am still brave enough to go inside the thicket.

In Tagalog this is called 'kasupanggil' and it has some medicinal values.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An Unusual Unique Bouquet

Hibiscus for Wordless Wednesday

Thanks to Dr. Pablito Magdalita, the biotechnologist and Hibiscus breeder who got these flowers from his collections and made this bouquet. He said if i go there i can choose one plant i like best, except for the blue one! What about that friends! Maybe some of you are envious.

I am giving this as a gift to my Malaysian blogfriends Autumn Belle, Stephanie, Jacqueline, Bangchik and James Missier. This is a descendant of their National Flower which is the red hibiscus.

For other Wordless Wednesday Posts please click HERE:

I also linked this to Noelle's My Garden Bouquet HERE:

I am finally giving this bouquet to Tootsie of Fertilizer Friday, as a gift for her energies in finishing her garden planting alone without complaining.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Plumbago species

I am very fascinated with blue flowers. However, in the tropics blues are not common  unlike in the semi-temperate or temperate climates. I don't really know the reasons why this is so. Taxonomists and maybe ecologists and geneticists might have the answers to this, but the physiologists don't. Those blues in Teza's garden are so wonderful, i would love to have them if only it is possible. Also there are blues in Rothchild's Orchid's site.  The blue iris lilly, the forget-me-not, and the blue grape hyacinth are also very beautiful.

We at least have the blue Plumbago auriculata. It is said to have originated from South Africa but proliferated also in California and Florida being adapted to subtropical climates. It is very beautiful in hedges or in  porch or patio containers; as shown here (, since the plant  spills over the sides  with lots of pretty blue flowers. Other colors include white, purple, red, or pink, but i haven't seen pink and white in the country. The hedge i posted here doesn't look floriferous because it is very hot this summer that most plants suffer from dieback. At least there are a few umbels although they are small in the photo.

The red Plumbago is Plumbago indica synonymous with  Plumbago rosea. It originated from India and now widely distributed in Southeast Asia. Among a lot of herbal and medicinal uses, it is said to be abortifacient. Beware pregnant gardeners! When used in small dosages it has lots of medicinal uses, but in large proportions can be lethal. Both the blue and the red Plumbago are poisonous in higher proportions. They have very diffirent morphological characteristics though. I wonder why they are placed in the same genus.

Plumbago auriculata

Plumbago indica

I linked this also to Todays Flowers:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ginger flower, Curcuma elata

Ginger Flower for  Todays Flowers and  Fertilizer Friday.

I saw this plant in Banaue Ethnic Village growing under the pine trees. I did not have the time to ask if it was taken from the lowlands or just from the wild. However, i have the feeling that it was from other places and not native to the area. By the way, Banaue is maybe around 1200 MASL in elevation. So, it has  mild temperatures resembling a sub-tropical environment.

I had difficulty in my google search as my only lead is the thought that it could be from the ginger family. It has similarity with the many torch ginger flowers i already saw in actual plant or in the web. Finally, i saw a reputable source of identification, which says it is called flowering ginger, hidden cone ginger or Curcuma elata. With the so many genus of ginger in the Zingiberaceae family, it is difficult if you don't know the lead genus. Now with the Curcuma it is easier to locate. However, it looks like it is still uncommon, as Wikipedia listed it but no full article entry yet. Another more scientifically oriented site which analyzes active ingredients from Curcuma also has not performed analysis on it yet.

Of course, ginger plants have long been known to have lots of medicinal uses aside from being used for food and condiment.  Curcuma includes the Curcuma longa or turmeric where curry powder comes from.  The world's largest producer and most important trading center of turmeric in Asia is Erode, a city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. For these reasons, Erode in history is also known as "Yellow City"  or "Turmeric City ( On the other hand the ordinary ginger or Zingiber officinale Roscoe has been used as a spice since the olden days. It looks like this Curcuma elata until now remains to be used for its aesthetic function.

And it is beautiful, don't you think so?

Fertilizer Friday here

Thank you very much to Sean B. who in the comment section corrected the ID to be C. elata, instead of C. petiolata as i previously labeled.  I cannot go to his website as he did not leave his link. I now already checked even the labels. 

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