Sunday, August 7, 2011

Plant giving me a head swirl

Just like the orange Hippeastrum, this plant has been in our property through ages. That means it is already in our backyard even before I set my eyes on plants. It never receive fertilizer, water or nice attention. I even do not care even if it's eaten by stray animals, or strangled by noxious vines during the rainy season, when the yard clearly typifies what Charles Darwin described as "survival of the fittest". However, at the deep convolutions of my consciousness, I know it is present in the garden somewhere. My previous years had been involved with orchids, not much minding any other plant to be in my garden. I've been so enthralled with them, had an episode of collecting whatever comes at sight, as long as i can afford it. I always have an orchid at hand whenever i return from out of town trips. Then my enthusiasm faded, gave up all of them, and just helped some friends who build their own collections. 


Here comes the blogging craze, and i am introduced to so many plants from around the world which are alien to me. Subtropical and temperate climate plants and flowers amaze me. Will you believe that i have an encyclopedia of temperate flowers, but can't have a hold of its tropical counterpart! And that is how my head swirl with this plant i am telling you. 


I saw it flowering after the first heavy rains. Because i have been seeing hostas in blogposts, I just believe i have a hosta. It has the same leaf shape and flower stem as hostas. However, I cannot just call it a hosta because further readings even seem to get me out of my belief. Then I serendipitously come in contact with Lily of The Suburban GardenerShe is a lily enthusiast with lots of hosta collection. I sent her my photos for ID, which she graciously thought of either a Hosta  plantaginea or a Eucharis grandiflora. I searched more and with some trepidation decided it is not a hosta, basically because it has a bulb and not stolons. Then comes Eucharis, which turned out to have lots of genus and species. I am at the dead end. Search, read, search and read again. I came across a very nice scientific literature describing Eucharis versus Caliphruria (www.jstor.org/pss/2399347). This 2nd term is really a very new term even for my subconscious.  I opened my photos and completely compare it with the net photos.  


It is very difficult to choose the characteristics that differ between the two. It is good i can somehow recall some technical terms from Botany class ages ago! Eucharis has curved perianth, while Caliphruria has straight perianth. This unusual term for laymen is the fused structure comprising the base of the flower, just like a petiole. Clearly, my specimen has straight perianth. Eureka...it is a Caliphruria!!! And what species it might be? Caliphruria has only 4 species, but it did not give the images for them. They are even endangered and one species is thought to be extinct. Suffice it to say i am happy calling my heirloom plant as Caliphruria sp. This is already safe! Great, i can have a steady head now. And i learned it is not endemic but from South America, how it came over? Blame it to our colonizers, the Spaniards and Portuguese, who brought a lot here including this Caliphruria. 


But it doesn't mean I will stop there. Please help me give its proper identity. Thank you. I can rest in peace now! I wish Phil Gates of the digitalbotanicgarden will help me for the ID. 







23 comments:

  1. I hope you get an id soon - I had never even heard of that plant until saw it here...... very nice little blooms on it aswell.

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  2. Andrea,
    Hope you figure this one out. It is a pretty little plant. Hostas are over rated, around here we call them deer food, deer love them.

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  3. Such pretty white flowers. I hope you'll be able to identify it.

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  4. my grandmother had this lily when i was growing up. i remember the leaves specifically, we used as "plates" in our bahay-bahayan.:p

    P.S. Live in the Moment is my other blog. thanks for the heads-up on sanggumay.

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  5. Can't unswirl your head on this one, Andrea, but I think it's a pretty!

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  6. It's a beauty but I'm sorry that I cannot identify it either. I'm just happy you have shared it with us and for that I thank you :)

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  7. Do you think it will be in the Madulid book? I can check it for you later. Also, I have an encyclopedia of tropical plants (the one given by my wife's boss), I can check there also. If it turns out to be rare, pwede pahingi? ;-)

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  8. Update: No Caliphruria in either book. Sorry.

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  9. Andrea, you've got me interested now because I have a plant with leaves like this but never seen the flowers. Maybe the plant's too young. I never bothered to find out the identity until now that I have read your post.
    The flowers are lovely.
    Rosie

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  10. Hi, Andrea! There are also some Hosta/Eucharis look-alikes endemic to your area.... Could is be a Brisbane lily (Proiphys cunninghamii) or a Cardwell lily (Proiphys amboinensis)?

    Your photos are lovely, and they do remind me of the Amazon lilies (Eucharis) that I grow here, all the way across the world.

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  11. Andrea, this beautiful plant is called Tambal or Eurycles amboinensis. According to Madulid's book, A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants, it is indigenous to our beautiful country the Philippines.

    If I'm not mistaken, you were describing this plant to me when I visited your place, though the conversation somehow managed to divert to something else, I had this plant in mind.

    Now, you can really sleep tight. Lol.

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  12. The flowers are beautiful, but the leaves are even more beautiful. We have a similar plant, but never saw its flowers. Thanks Andrea for sharing and Rico for identification help.

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  13. The wonders of the internet - just say the word, and you have the whole world searching to ID your plant! It is lovely, and it does remind me of my own hostas. I'm glad you finally got the ID.

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  14. Andrea, please don't rest in peace just because you got the name of this beautiful plant specimen. There are so many things yet that you can do to help a garden novice like me :)

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  15. It is really lovely!
    Blessings, Beth

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  16. looks very familiar, but so pretty isn't it?

    http://ewok1993.wordpress.com

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  17. I'm so glad Rico helped you with this. I just hate it when I cannot mke the final connection.... Luckily blogging friends sometimes come to the rescue. :)

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  18. I am very very happy with this post and how it all turned out. Everybody is helpful and challenged and excited to have this plant get its true identity. I will just post a part two for this because i like to chronicle the events and thank everyone.

    I am also putting the bright light on this plant and put it at the center stage, haha!

    For now i thank everyone. I am sure you are also very glad that i am happy!

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  19. hi andrea! i remember mom having this plant, but it died na. she call's it "baston ni san jose," not sure though. i'll ask her.
    ~ANGEL~

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  20. Hi Andrea,
    I hope you get the correct I.D. soon. I am afraid I am no help!

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  21. So glad to know that the mystery has been solved and with a happy ending too. Hurray!

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Your comments inspire me to post more, and our conversations make life and gardening more meaningful.

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