The Folly of Common Names Struck me between the eyes when I first gazed upon these Gorgeously Fragrant Flowers in the well maintained Temple gardens surrounding The Lakshmikantha Swamy Temple opposite the sprawling Infosys campus in Mysore, Karnataka, India.
The Sky touching Main Entrance or Gopuram in typical Dravidian Style decorated with statues of the Creator Lord Vishnu or LakshmiKantham.
When I first gazed upon these lovely and graceful flowers I was reminded of a flower from the Himalayas which still haunts me “The Golden Champa” ( English), Champa ( Hindi) or Magnolia champaca ( Scientific Name). Yet these flowers were white and far from being Yellow or Golden.
The leaves closely resemble that of the Mango Tree ( do see the featured image above) , which is considered auspicious and the leaves are used to decorate homes and temples during festivals like Diwali. ( an earlier blog titled “KING and I” gives an in depth insight on Mangoes)
I had never seen these fragrant “Champa”flowers which my host from Southern India identified them as.
In the Northern parts of India I hail from the temple flower or Frangipanni is referred to as Champa in common parlance. Though the tree was located in a temple ,the flowers were nothing like the five petaled Champa ( scientific name is Plumeria alba) which is also white, but with a yellow centre.
The tell tale central Gopuram resembles those of the “Magnolia grandiflora“ I had seen in the Himalayas and posted about in earlier blogs titled “Fragrant Opulence “ and “The Lotus Tree”.
In Modern Classification the flower determines the species and I was certain it is a species of Magnolia .You will be too if you compare the tell tale centres ( stamens and carpals) of the flowers in the pictures above and those in the blogs mentioned above.
This Lotus like flower , also called White Champa ( the lady was dead right) is none other than the Magnolia alba ( scientific name) , a supposed hybrid of the Magnolia champaca and native to the Indian subcontinent.
Enchanting is it not ?