I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging challenge.
This is my first post in the series. #writetribeproblogger
Monday, October 2 # prompt-My favourite flower-Frangipani
I choose to keep Frangipani trees my prompt out of my everlasting love for the blooms. The very mention of them makes me nostalgic of the years I lived in my home as a young girl. That was many years back. In the remote corner of our village, there was a temple. Stood on a raised place, in the middle of a rectangular yard, it had stone walls reaching almost up to the roof on three sides except in the front where it came only knee-high. One had to climb a flight of stone steps to reach the temple. There stood on the right of the flight an old frangipani tree, my favourite one. Frangipani is the English name, we called it Chempakam. Its blooms were white with canary yellow in the middle, with the sweet distinctive scent which wafted freely through the air.
|Kerala temple frangipani|
In the morning time, when I usually visited the temple, the blooms would be fresh, the dew drops gathered on their oval petals sparkling in the sun and the sandy raised ground under the tree, carpeted with previous day's flowers. The tree wasn't very tall, the tallest branch reaching just above the knee-high front wall of the temple yard.
I had to struggle hard to nip off my desire to pluck a flower away from a branch. They were dedicated to the temple idol. A lady assigned to the task of organising flower garlands and offerings to the goddess would pluck them, put in a fresh green banana leaf and take inside.
I have seen frangipanis in many temples throughout Kerala and perhaps it's from that phenomenon that they obtained the name Temple Trees.
How did it derive their names?
Frangipani is its common name and Plumeria botanical name.
The name frangipani comes from the Italian Marquis Frangipani. The story goes like this: he created a perfume to scent gloves in the 16th century and later when the people began to associate that with the scent of frangipani flowers, they gave the same name to the flowers. Pomelia is another name it's known in Italy.
The origin of 'Plumeria' is attributed to Charles Plumer, a 17th-century French botanist for just naming it. But according to author Peter Loewer, the honour goes to Franciso de Mendoza, a Spanish priest who named it in 1522.
However, it's known under different names in different parts of the world, Temple Tree or Pagoda Tree in India and the Far East. Graveyard Tree in the Caribbean Island, Temple Flower in Shrilanka and May Flower in Nicaragua.
According to history, Plumeria has originated in Mexico and Central America, from where it spread to almost all tropical areas of the world.
Myths associated with Frangipani.
Catholic missionaries had spread it to different parts of the world, well to where they managed to travel which explains the trees' plentiful presence in Philipines and Thailand, the two countries that let them easy access but not in China and Vietnam, the two countries persecuted them until around the 1850s.
In India, it's associated with loyalty; Hindu women wear the flowers on the hair on their wedding day to declare loyalty to their husbands.
In Vietnam, its associated with ghosts; ghosts live on trees with white flowers.
According to 5000-year-old Ayurveda, India's holistic science, its associated with medicinal values; 'warming oils' prepared out of frangipani, sandalwood, lotus flower, frankincense, cinnamon and basils are said to have calming influence on those suffering from fear, anxiety, insomnia etc,.
|Common White Frangipani|
Plumeria plants are found in various varieties in different parts of the world. Fearing volume, I do not want to include their details here and each variety produces distinct flowers. For those who are interested the details can go here. However, I shall show some beautiful flowers from these varieties.
|Darwin blood red Frangipani|
|Darwin Petite Pink (All pictures courtesy to www.flowerpower.com)|
Conclusion: Presently I live in Cape Town, South Africa, far away from my favourite Frangipani tree, which still flowers there every day in front of the temple, keeping all its freshened vigour and vitality like an eternal presence of beauty.