Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Prolific flowers & trees finally identified!

I have long wondered whaat the names of the flowers most common in my mother's garden are and today i finally found out:

From Flower arrangements

From 090216 - Flowering and Non Flowering Plants

This is the snowy white dwarf bauhinia /orchid. It is native to Asia. The white flowers look like snowflakes hanging on the branches and hence the name Snowy Orchid Tree. The leaves are shaped a little like a horse's hoof.

Crepe jasmine (called nandiar vatai here in Chennai) is a shrub very common in India and used extensively for religious activities. The petals are arranged in a pretty little pinwheel pattern and the leaves are dark green and shiny. The stems exude a milky latex when broken.

The unknown yellow flower that blooms on a tree much like the aralli (which btw is non other than the oleander) - Mexican oleander.

and for the pavazhai malli - night jasmine or tree of sadness! The flowers bloom at night and before dawn fall off the tree giving the ground underneath a pleasing blend of white and red. Called Coral Jasmine in English, it has a tell-tale botanical name: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, Nyctanthes meaning that which blossoms at nightfall. It has many medicinal uses: antibacterial, antiinflammatory and anthelmintic (destroying intestinal worms). A dye extracted from the tube of the flower is used to color Tussar Silk.

The blue conch like flower with a yellow center that grows on a creeper on the left velli near the palms is called the butterfly pea

Here are all the flowers:

From Flower arrangements

The tree in front of the neighbour's- raintree
The english name for the champa - temple tree a.k.a plumeria;
The ubiquituous ashoka = the mast tree.

I cannot wait to see the flowers of the ashoka, the rain tree and the gulmohar (dolonix regia) this spring! The copperpod is already adding so much color to the cityscape!

To the not so discerning eye, the copperpod, gulmohar and the raintree look much the same when not in bloom. The way i tell them apart is by looking at the pods - those of the gulmohar are much longer and bigger than those of the copperpod - and by looking to see if the leaves close at night or when it cloudy - a behaviour observed only in the raintree. The leaves of the raintree are also a little bigger, rounder and of a darker green than those of the gulmohar and the copperpod.


Anonymous said...

I think the snowy white dwarf orchid is the one my mother and grandmother used to call "Kokku mandhaarai". I remember the distinct shape of the leaves and the fragile beauty of the flowers.

Anonymous said...

the white dwarf orchid is also called the Bauhinia acuminata