Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cont'n of the Plant that Gave me a Head Swirl

The head swirling almost stopped, but a scientist somehow is always a scientist, at least in curiosity! Just like a gardener who always find ways to plant something, the curiosity of a scientist stays with them far beyond their work in the laboratory. My work as a scientist stopped long ago, but the curiosity remains, and maybe permanently embossed in me till the next lifetimes!

I have told you in the previous post that my 'mystery plant' will now be getting extra attention. Not only you, my blogger friends, were involved in its identity crisis. But non-blogging friends were also in the sidelines. In fact, Rico, who has stopped blogging helped me look for the book that i have been looking for years. All editions were sold out but i still am hoping to find one. He asked all bookstores he went to and fortunately was told by a bookstore in the Mall of Asia that a bookstore in the Global City still has one last copy. I immediately called a friend living in Serendra One, near that bookstore to please buy it for me. She got it, exactly the book i am looking for: The Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants. I feel so lucky to have friends who can make things happen!

So it is Floridagirl, who gave me the link to Proiphys amboinensis or P cunninghamii. Reading lots of articles further led me to John & Jacq~s Gardenwho previously also believed it was a hosta. She took care of her plant for 7 years before it flowered in 2009, and next flowering was after another 2 years. She also explored the seed production and germination, which took 6 months to finally see the seedling. She also had wonderful experiences in searching for its identity, even approaching a European hosta taxonomist! I now believe it really is a very special plant.

She has several wonderful posts about P. amboinensis, and honestly, I admit, she has better photos than mine. In fairness to me, I was able to see my plant for just one weekend, while in her case her plants are in her home. But, I really salute her lovely photos.These are her posts.

I admit i still have questions. I wonder why i still cannot just keep my mind contented. Jacqui's photos and descriptions in the Australian Botanic Gardens show greener leaves for the P. amboinensis. My plant has lighter green leaves. I wonder if it is the effect of too much shading or really its characteristics. Only 4 species comprise this genus, one of them is P. alba. This is described to have shiny, light-green leaves, however no images are available on the net. but the description looks like mine. However, it was not reported to be included in the species originating both from Australia and Southeast Asia. It looks like i still have problems.

Then, Rico's comment said it is Eurycles amboinenensis, getting it from the Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants. The book says it is endemic to the Philippines, and the author Madulid is a botanist-taxonomist. I found Eurycles amboinensis is an older name for Proiphys amboinensis, a term after the island of Ambiona, now Ambon, in Indonesia. Common names include Cardwell Lily and Northern Christmas Lily, because it flowers around this time in temperate countries. Of course its endemicity is Australia, and Southeast Asia including Indonesia and the Philippines. According to Mona Lisa Steiner in Philippine Ornamental Plants, it is found in Luzon, Mindoro, Palawan, Malaysia and North Australia. I learned from my mother that it is called "katunggal" in Tagalog. She was the one who got the bulbs from her ancestral house because of its medicinal values.

I rest my case!!!


  1. Hi Andrea, yes this looks more like Proiphys amboinenis syn. Eucycles amboinensis ... the Cardwell Lily. The flowers tend to be around 5 cms across.

    Proiphys cunninghamii flowers are slightly smaller ... around 3 cms across ... and the leaves are smaller too.

  2. Good thing you found the ID for the plant!

  3. Congratulations on the ID. I really am no scientist. I just checked for Caliphruria in the index and didn't bother to look at the pictures. It's a good thing you have Rico. Sorry to hear that he has stopped blogging. No wonder there have not been any new posts for some time now.

  4. Bernie - thank you, i am glad about my escapade and the pouring in of help from blogging friends like you.

    Aaron - i am also glad you already find some time to browse in blogs again. How is school?

    Bom - my search doesn't stop there, i am very patient with these things. If you will read Jacq's posts, they are so nice to read and the experiences lovely. From her posts i learn to love this lily more! I texted my sister to check if there are seeds, but none at all. I guess my time will be more devoted to Hippeastrum and the seeds sent by our friend from Illinois.

  5. Isn't blogging just incredible? I have learned so much from other bloggers... Glad you got an identification.... Gorgeous flower.

  6. You have the patience of a saint. I love identifying plants but sometimes this process takes a looooong time. It's nice to have friends who can help out! I had an issue with a several plants, birds, and butterflies in some upcoming posts. Sometimes taking the pics are a lot easier than the hours that follow afterwards:)

  7. Whatever its name or ancestry, it is a lovely plant. I applaud your research. I have a friend who, if she doesn't know the name of a plant, just makes one up!

  8. Andrea, this is such a lovely plant. So good that it has an ID now. Knowing more, understanding more will help you look after it well. Cheers all the people who have helped you. Jacqueline not only help us with plant ID but she also blog about blogging (tools)!

  9. So glad you have the ID now :-D Nice little white flowers and pretty green leaves. Wonderful plant Andrea!

  10. I see you are very passionate about mystery plants. I think there may be more coming up to keep you really busy and happy.

  11. Betsy - yes bloggers are generous and kind people, and i really appreciate their honesty and support to fellow bloggers. Belated congratulations also to you and regards to your Senior Hiker, haha!

    Rohrerbot - i fully agree with you, but when your photos and identity are stolen by some "unusual" people my patience run out very fast, and the opposite of the "saint" surfaces quickly too!

    Deborah - thanks for the kind words. I cannot imagine acts like that of your friend, but there are worse than that. That act just shows ignorance, but intentional ignorance is worse!

  12. Autumn Belle - i hope i can attend the KL Int'l sympo next year, and i will really would like to meet all of you, and bring you the Epiphyllum, and i will get whatever, haha. Yes, you know i have been constantly follow Jacqui during my early blogging days simultaneous with you, but when she was into this computer things i tend not to read those, now i am back to her site.

    Stephanie - if One said i am involved with mysterious plants, i appreciate your unusual plants collection. If only you are nearer KL i hope to see your garden too.

    One - this last mysterious plant just got my attention when they flowered. And yes they got my curiosity because it is embedded in my brain as i discussed in this post. Did you read it? haha?

  13. Hi. I heard this is called tambal. But from what i know it is not native to Philippines but rather indonesia. But i know of some people who laim it is native in Mindanao.

  14. Congratulations for finally unearthing the true identity of your mysterious plant. Now, being a non-botanist, non-scientist myself, can you identify the plants in our garden that have 'no name' yet? LOL

  15. metscaper - if you will read the reference i put in my post, you can discern there that the Philippines is one of the Southeast Asian countries where it can be endemic. There are other references to that effect.

    Solitude rising - the scientists who study the identities of plants are plant taxonomists, a specialization in botany. I am a plant physiologist. But if someone is familiar with the morphological terms in plants, even if not a plant taxonomist, then they can try. Sometimes, mere sameness in photos are not strong enough as basis!

  16. Hello Andrea!
    Lovely to be drawn to your blog again. Thank you so much for your sweet and kind compliments, plus mention of my website. Judging from your lovely photos I can just deduced that its features resemble very much the Proiphys amboinensis that we're growing too. The only difference is the shade of the leaves where yours is lighter as observed. The choice is yours, my dear friend... continue to search until you're 100% satisfied and be swirled further or just let it rest. Hehe... I got a feeling you'll be choosing the former, right? Knowing me, that'll be my choice too.. haha! :)

  17. Jacqueline - thank you very much for your assessment and visit. I also love and enjoy your sincere reply to my private message. Regarding the probably overlooked fruit, i will try to check it myself when i go home next weekend, as my sister whom i asked to check said there's none, but maybe as you said she just did not check further! I hope it has so my escapade and experience will be your second replicate. LOL. I enjoy being in contact with you again. Our mothers only have a difference of 6 yrs, she's still at home responsible for planting this lily, and still gardening.

  18. hmmm, love a botanical mystery. I'm no expert but it seems that plants evolve and change even faster than the scientists who scramble to keep up. Looking forward to more mysteries, please ...


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