I searched long and hard, but could not find what was touted to be the ultimate mosquito repellant plant. I even searched the internet but strangely, there wasn’t much information posted on the plant.
I sniffed and touched every plant which looked remotely like the Evodia Suaveolens. I was even fooled into thinking that the Evodia Ridleyi was the real deal and bought a few. But it wasn’t, and I gave all four plants away. The structurally similar Ridleyi simply lacks the Zodia’s intoxicating scent.
Then someone gave me a tiny Zodia. I subjected the tiny 1-inch seedling to a sniff-and-touch test. The leaves were sticky and the scent was heady. It was the real McCoy! As instructed, I planted the seedling in a small pot, and watered it sparingly.
The tiny pot didn’t do the plant any favours. It obviously gave the Zodia the impression that it was a bonsai as it remained an inch tall for a really long time.
“What do you mean it hasn’t grown?” the person who gave me the seedling asked for the umpteenth time. He nagged me to change the pot, and for the sake of peace, I did.
Liberated from its close confines, the Zodia stretched its limbs. For the first time, I could actually see significant progress.
Encouraged, I changed the pot yet again, leap frogging from a 4-inch pot to a 10-inch one. A drastic jump, defying the usual advice to take it one step at a time. I guess I was making up for lost time.
The Zodia obliged by growing stronger by the day, and taller by the week.
Then one day I saw buds, then flowers. Needless to say, this mother hen clucked with pride and dashed to get the camera.
I was hoping to pollinate the microscopic flowers but gave up after a couple of tries. I couldn’t even see the stamen and the pistil, what more the anther and the stigma. But thankfully, before I could get cross-eyed, nature took over. Ants are great agents of pollination.
Right now, the fruit may still be green, but I’m already looking forward to getting some seeds from the plant. Perhaps once I have enough Zodia in the garden, mosquitoes will really be a thing of the past.
Care and propagation: partial shade to full sun; well drained soil, water moderately, propagation through seeds and semi-hardwood cuttings