New Year's eve saw me busy at home with a family gathering until past midnight. Then the next day on New Year 2011, saw me travelling out of town to Bentong, Pahang about 2 hours journey. The destination was a place called Mepaga I think, an outskirt of Bentong. Travelling to a new place always keep me on a look out for new plants, trees and sceneries to delight the senses.
I never thought I would actually see this plant after seeing it in Milka's Jishiben, the Mickey Mouse Plant. Before it was featured in her post, I have never seen or heard of it! I was so delighted when I laid my eyes on this plant on new year's day and the owner, a relative gave me two branches to propagate at home!
There were yellow blooms and of course the red blooms...
Another plant I saw and have known since I was a kid is the Bunga Dedap or scientifically known as Erythrina spp. also known as the Coral tree or the Flame tree because of its mostly red colour of the flowers. Though some species have white, pink, orange or yellow flowers. A genus of a flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae, it has about 130 species throughout tropical and subtropical regions in the world.
The red clusters of the flowers are very eye-catching indeed. The birds and the bees love the sweet nectar, though the beautiful flowers have no sweet scent at all. There is a saying in Malay "laksana si bunga dedap, merah ada berbau tidak" direct translation " like the coral flower, red yes, fragrance, no". It refers to a beautiful female, who is beautiful in the physical sense but without good manners to compliment the beauty.
I love these flowers not only because they are red and gorgeous, they reminded me of my grandma who taught me to eat them as kerabu (salad)! Yes, they can be eaten just like papaya flowers salad, you have to blanche them first, then add pounded dried shrimps, kerisik (roasted coconut) belacan, onions, chillies and squeeze the kasturi lime juice with salt and sugar to taste. Wallaa!!
Those days, these trees are found lining the beaches or river banks but now they are mainly planted in parks, housing estates and on the roadsides. It can be grown by propagating the stem but I have not been successful when I tried a few months back to grow a stem given by a nursery owner, when I told him I was growing it for the edible flowers! You cant find the seedlings in Sg Buloh or elsewhere, I have tried looking for it since....
Come 2011, I have added a few more plants to my list to be planted and nurtured! Happy Gardening in 2011 to all bloggers out there!