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Friday, December 23, 2011

Heliconia Rostrata

We derive a great deal of pleasure in watching our kids grow. The Wandering Mind has discovered a sculpture at Badami  depicting the four stages of childhood – first when the child is sleeping all the time, then, he begins crawling, then he stands, and finally, he does all sorts of gymnastics!. A similar feeling is also associated with our pets. The plants in our gardens are no exception.

Some six years back I brought few plants of Heliconia Rostrata (Lobster Claw) as they were not obtainable at this place. After two years they started flowering and I was thrilled to see them grow. In the recent years because of over growth of a Shivali/Night Jasmine tree I had to remove all other smaller plants beneath and transplant them in earthen pots. I specially bought a wider cement pot (24”) for planting Heliconias. They are there and new shoots are coming up but they refused to bear flowers during the last few years.

For the five years the monsoon was erratic and the rains were inadequate. Fortunately this year it was not so. We had very good rains and my Heliconias probably sensed this and happily started bearing flowers.

I tried to capture their stage wise growth  and they are here:

This last one seems to be the end of it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mountain Ebony

I am fond of flowers and the specie we shall be talking about is quite common in India. When it is common, what could be the purpose in bringing out a post on that. Not because the buds are used to prepare pickles or that the bark of the tree has medicinal properties. The reason is simply my vested interest. I happened to click some photographs while I was at Coimbatore. I came across a different kind of Mountain Ebony (Bauhinia Variegata) hitherto unknown to me which looked very attractive. I wanted to show it to my folks driven by a sort of  childish instinct in me.
This kind of Yellow as also White are very common

In India alone, there are around a dozen varieties and some of them turn into creepers as well. The tree is medium sized and has a brown bark which split vertically. The flowers could be either white, yellow or red. All these varieties are found through out India. They are grown in gardens as ornamental trees. It starts flowering during February/March and by May fruits could be seen. The leaves are split into two parts and generally  both the parts remain folded together. Once the leaf is opened up, it would resemble a Camel’s foot and it is also called so.

In view of its medicinal properties the bark is used in Ayurveda for treating blood related problems, skin diseases, itching, boils, eczema etc.
In India the names we get are: Sanskrit = Kashchnar, Hindi = Kachnar, Marathi = Koral/Kanchan, Gujarati = Champakanti, Bengali = Kanchan, Telugu = Devakanchanamu, Tamil = Mandarai. Kannada = Keyumandara, Malayalam = Mandaram, Punjabi = Kulad.