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Archive for February, 2013

Curcuma Alismatifolia

plants 007_sDesperate for a slice of Keukenhof, I started a small tub of tulip bulbs in the fridge. That yielded five inches worth of leaves and a tiny misshapen bud. However, the valiant bud stewed in the tropical heat almost as soon as it was out in the open.

One of my dreams may have gone down the drain, but, I was not about to admit defeat.

I turned to the internet and looked for tulips grown in the tropics. My search turned up something interesting; the curcuma alismatifolia, a tulip-wannabe from Thailand. Not surprisingly, it was called the ‘Siam Tulip’.

The striking bracts of this ginger form a cup-shaped structure and mimic the shape of a tulip. While it vaguely resembles the delicate tulip from afar, the curcuma alismatifolia is anything but fragile.

IMG_8541The c. alismatifolia’s bloom has a much longer shelf-life than the fragile tulip and its tough bracts and sturdy stem can withstand the battering of a tropical storm.

IMG_3144What’s more, the c. alismatifolia comes with another bonus. Small white flowers with pronounced purple lips emerge from the tulip-shaped bracts, flaunting a beauty of their own.

Is that slice of Keukenhof within grasp after all? What I’ve seen at Bangkok has inspired me to give it a shot. But at the rate at which my plants are growing, I’d have to be really, really patient.

Care and propagation: half to full sun; well-drained soil; water sparingly with occasional dry spells; propagate using rhizomes or by division

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The next few photos which were taken in Bangkok had me envisioning fields of  tulips.

Bangkok 278_c

Bangkok 247_curcuma alismatisfolia_c

Bangkok 281

Bangkok 282

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