Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Hot, the Loud and the Proud

The huge flower of the Golden Chalice vine seems to be loudly proclaiming the contenders for the title!
The yellow and red leaves of the Amaranthus are louder than its flowers.

The Queen's Tears Russelia is making a statement in the shade.

The flower of the bromeliad is slowly emerging, sheathed in red.

Inflorescences of the Pyramid Billbergia are springing up in surprising places inthe garden. To view more hot, loud and proud images of tropicals, please visit Noel's blog- A Plant Fanatic in Hawaii.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


When the wedding seson starts after 15 days, there will be great demand for the Turmeric. Hindu weddings start by ladies pounding the root of the turmeric tuber to get the yellow spice, which is used to give the bride a ceremonial beauty bath.
Curcuma longa , the common Turmeric is a part of Indian life. The spice is used in daily cooking. A spoonful of turmeric powder and sugar mixed in a glass of hot milk works wonders if you have cold or flu. Rice balls mixed with coconut and jaggery are wapped in the leaves of the Turmeric and steamed, to make a delicious dish.There is a city named Erode near my city which is known as the granary of turmeric.
There are many types of turmerics which grow in the rainforests of the Western Ghats. Some are endangered.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Common Rue

The Common Rue Ruta graveolens is a native of Southern Europe which has naturalised itself in India. It is calle Nagadali here , as it is believed to deter snakes from entering the garden. Most gardeners grow it at the entrance of their gardens .But I have seen a black cobra merrily wending its way through a maze of Rue in my neighbour's house!
The Rue has an unpleasant oily smell, but its leaves are an unusual blue-green. Its lime yellow flowers bloom in summer. It was used in European cooking before the 20th century, but now tastes have changed. Its leaves and oil are used in Ayurveda for curing chest related diseases and Arthritis.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vinca Major

The blue flowers of the Vinca major vine are very attractive. Although its cousin Vinca minor is very common in the tropical region, Vinca major is rare. I found this plant in the Himalayas.
The alkaloid Vincamine which is used by the pharmaceutical industry is extracted from the plant. The flowers are used in homeopathic remedies.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Himalayan Iris

It is a sight for sore eyes to see the Himlayan Iris Iris nepalensis cover whole mountainsides in spring. The violet flower has white and yellow markings.
The Iris is found all over the temperate region of the world. It takes its name from the Greek word for rainbow. Iris flowers come in many colours.
The Iris flower is formed in such a way that when a bee enters it to get the nectar, the insect will come in contact with the pollen only after passing the stigma. When the bee backs out of the flower, it will only touch the lower face of the Stigma, which is non- receptive. Thus the flower ensures that the bee doesn't pollinate it with its own pollen. Each flower is pollinated by the pollen of another.