This single extraordinary flower stands out from a sea of green at the amazing HOTEL FATEGARH in Udaipur.( Rajasthan, India).
At first glance it is difficult to identify what belongs to which plant. It is a maze of leaves, branches, buds and flowers.
It is indeed a lot of fun ( and sometimes frustrating ) to identify a flower or a plant. Try it.
My recent education makes me hone it down to the Malvaceae family ( A diverse family including the flower Hibiscus, the cash crop Cotton, vegetable Okra and the fruit Durian) .
Recent education was in a vegetable market in New Delhi, where I saw the conical tell tale buds of Roselle (Hibiscus Sabdariffa ) for the first time. ( a rushed picture from my mobile)
Thus the Genus Hibiscus is clearly established from the buds , now onto the tougher part of identifying the species.
I have a recent picture of the Lady Finger ( Okra) plant which shows the similarity of the two family members in the typical cone-shaped buds, the whorl below the buds and the leaves.
This picture was taken at THE CORN VILLAGE near Mussoorie in the Himalayas.
Do remember all I have are photographs taken from a digital camera close to two decades ago.
The habitat where one locates flora ( or fauna) is an extremely useful tool in identifying the species.
After a pain staking comparison of the buds ( they have no hair in the picture), the typical whorl below the buds and the leaves resembling the head of a coconut tree ,I think the flower is christened Hibiscus Caesius Garcke.
( Please verify at http://efloraindia.nic.in )
As i leave you to ponder and decipher the correct identify of Susan, I move onto identify the white flowers seen along with these eye catchers.
Nature has a charming way of casting an enchanting spell at the most unusual places.
The ultra luxurious Leela Hotel at Udaipur was a place where I was least expecting to be smitten by Nature.
The lovely view of the beautiful City Palace from the gardens of the Leela Hotel across Lake Pichola at Udaipur.
We were sitting under an old Jamun Tree ( English: Java Plum .Scientific name: Syzygium cumini) located in the Gardens of the Leela Hotel when a rustle in the tree made me gaze upwards.
I was awestruck as I saw four lovely eyes gazing at me. They were a spectacular and loving pair of Spotted Owlets.( Ullus in Hindi).
The Spotted Owlets ( scientific name: Athena Brahma) had made a hollow in this tree their home and though being nocturnal kept a careful watch for intruders during the day as well .
The scientific name is very interesting as the Genus Athene is derived from the Greek Goddess of Wisdom Athena. Legend has it that a Parliament ( yes a group of owls is called so) of Owls inhabited the Temple of the Goddess Athena in Athens, Greece.
The species Brama is in honour of Lord Brahma , the learned Hindu God of Wisdom and creator of the Vedas. The logic was that the owlets were unique to India.
The Spotted Owlet ( Athene Brama) is native to the Indian Sub continent and has a total of three subspecies as well.
It is interesting how perspectives vary across the world. An owl is considered to be wise in the Western World , however in India the Hindi word Ullu ( Owl) is a derogatory word for an Idiot.( German: Dumbkopf)
To complicate matters further, the Owl ( or Ullu in Hindi ) is revered in Hindu Mythology as the vehicle of the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi.
There is a temple shaped liked an Owl in India ( follow my blogs to know about it) and the ruling deity is none other than Goddess Lakshmi who was worshiped across India yesterday during the festival of lights, Diwali.
Be bewitched by the enchanting ways of Nature in this Land of myth, fables and surprises.
These absolutely stunning and unusual flowers take my breath away.
Native to the distant mountains of South America, the Andes , once home to the ancient Incas they are called THE LILY OF THE INCAS.
They were named Alstroemeria by Linnaeus ( father of botanical names or tongue twisters) after his friend Swedish Baron Karl von Alstroemer. ( why not more appropriately an Inca Chief?).
The tubular form makes the flower look very similar to a Lily ( see side profile in pic below) , hence the nomenclature Lily is accurate.
However almost all the species known to date are native to Chile and Brazil, thus the name PERUVIAN LILY is a mystery .
The flowers have many interesting and curious features . One of which is that the leaves grow BOTTOMS UP. See the picture below, the base of the leaves twists so the underside faces upwards. Why do they do so?
These amazing flowers are made of 3 petals ( smaller three in the centre) and 3 sepals ( larger outer ones) . What is interesting is that the sepals and petals have the same colour making it difficult to differentiate between the two.
These large and beautiful flowers of the Incas have however NO FRAGRANCE.
( philosophers/ poets are free to their interpretations)
The flowers are now extensively cultivated across the world as they exhibit a very long shelf life in a Vase.
Numerous hybrids in a wide range of bright colours are now commercially available and thus also called PARROT LILY . They are grown from clusters of tubers.
The flower of the Alstoemeria symbolizes friendship and devotion.
All the pictures were taken in the lovely Green House of the JW Marriott Walnut Grove Spa & Resort, Mussoorie. See the picture .
The wonderful and creative chefs of the Resort photographed with the Green House ( home to hundreds of exotic flowers) forming the backdrop.
Keep following these blogs as more tumbles out from the barbecue and green house in the days to follow.
Say Happy Diwali with potted plants and celebrate with Nature.
These gorgeous chandeliers of the desert are the flowers of the Sickle Bush ( English).
Called Khairi in Hindi and carrying a tongue twister of a scientific name Dichrostachys cinerea they are gradually replacing the invasive Vilayti keekar ( Prosposis Juliflora) in Rao Jodha Park in Jodhpur.
The sterile flowers change from pink ( see featured image) to white ( see pic below) as the flower ages.
The Sickle bush is a short stunted tree or bush belonging to the Touch- me-not (Mimosaceae) family .
Fertile flowers make up the yellow head of these Chinese Lanterns, whereas the pink rear are the sterile flowers. The collective presence of two kinds of flowers gives it the generic name Dichrostachys.Continue reading CHINESE LANTERNS