Monday, March 29, 2010

What is That?

The Quisqualia indica, Or the Rangoon Creeper is named quixotically by the botanists. Its name in Latin means 'What is that'. The early botanist who saw the plant for the first time in England must have ejaculated "What is that?", and the name got stuck. But its name Madhumalti in Sanskrit means 'Honey jasmine."
The flowers match their name because they are surrounded by honey bees. The delicately scented flowers start as pale pink blossoms and become darker as they age, so that you see at least three diffenrent colours of flowers in one branch.


The British planted these creepers along railway tracks in Burma. That is how the Honey Jasmine got its other ugly name 'Rangoon Railway Creeper'!


11 comments:

  1. I've always thought this was a beautiful vine! Your information on its names was enlightening and interesting.

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  2. Beautiful vine but sooo invasive. I am very tempted to get one.

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  3. It's really pretty. What a funny name "What is that?" They just look like they would smell good.

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  4. I love the fragrance of this creeper. Mine got a little too unruly so I pruned it severely. So no blooms till now. Interesting to know how it derived its other name...the Rangoon Railway Creeper.

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  5. My aunt used to call it the Japanese Jasmine. I know about Japan and Burma connection -- of war and occupation. But usurping the name of a plant in the occupied country? Hmmm....

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  6. Lovely picture. And nice explanation. I will never forget the name and its origin.

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  7. Thanks- I have this vine but was not sure of the name

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  8. Floridagirl, it is a creeper which rewards you with plenty of fragrant blossoms.
    Helen, yes, it is invasive. But the beuty and fragrance of the flowers make up for it!
    Catherine, Quisqualis has a funny name, hasn't it?
    Kanak, you must have pruned it too late.Perhaps it should be pruned just befor the onset of winter.
    Shailaja, perhaps the Japanese also ejaculated "What is that?" when they saw the flower in Burma :-)
    Radha and Rao, thank you!

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  9. This wonderful plant has always grown in my garden. I know it by the name of quisqualis. The Sanskrit name sounds very nice and suits its gorgeous flowers and scent. Thanks for the information.

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