Smile of Earth- 15

Bougainvillea

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Bougainvillea is an ornamental shrub that climbs up a support, if left unpruned. They produce showy bunches of ‘flowers’ that come in a variety of colours.
Flowering Bougainvillea plants are really a visual treat and adds colour to the place.

The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white. Flowers are seen in cluster of three and is surrounded by three or six bracts (modified leaves) with bright colours, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.

Currently, there are over 300 varieties of bougainvillea around the world. Many are hybrids  developed by genetic as well as  vegetative methods like budding.

Bougainvillea is the official flower of some states in USA like, California and Guam. It is also the national flower in Grenada. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra) is also known as Paper flower.

Bougainvillea flowers are sources of natural dyes.

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Smile of Earth- 14

Some Exotic Flowers

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Aloe flowers

Anyone would love these exotic flowers!!

Aloe flowers vary in size, shape and color. They are held in a racemose inflorescence. The common species is Aloe vera and its flowers show  variations depending on the climatic conditions where it grows.

The Portuguese squill (Scilla peruviana) is a perennial that produces large striking blue conical-shaped inflorescence. The star-shaped flowers last for several weeks. These plants propagate from bulbs.

Ornamental garlic plants can be grown to get pretty blooms in globose inflorescence. Garlic flowers have a green stem that bear lime green, pink, or white spherical capsule of miniature flowers. No marks for guessing their smell!! 🙂

And now, the Crucifix orchids (Epidendrum radicans). These have thick leaves and long, thin stems with long lasting clusters of flowers. The common name refers to the modified petal that resembles a small cross.

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Portuguese squill
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Garlic flowers
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Crucifix orchid

Smile of Earth- 13

Red flowers

Bright and vivid, arrest attention! That is what these red flowers do!

‘Red Mountain Flame’
Red Mountain Flame

Red Mountain Flame (Delosperma sp.) is a highly improved variety of Ice plant that can transform a strip of land as a ground cover. The daisy-like, intense red flowers have yellow stamen and are borne by succulent evergreen branches.

True to their name, Bottlebrush plants (Callistemon sp.) have spikes of flowers that bloom at the ends of the stems, bearing a strong resemblance to a bottle brush. These shrubs bloom with flowers in shades of red.

The Canna lily (Canna indica) is a perennial with large foliage and showy flowers. They are easy to grow, and their flowers offer long-lasting colour in the garden. The plants are propagated from rhizomes.

And the ubiquitous Lantana plants (Lantana camara) have rounded clusters of small, brightly-colored flowers. There are a variety of colours other than the red. Lantana is considered as an invasive weed.

Bottlebrush
Bottlebrush
Cana lily
Canna lily
Lantana
Lantana

 

 

 

 

Smile of Earth- 12

Lilies

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Tulip

The Lily family, Liliaceae, originally consisted of about 4000 plus known species. Latest classification has organized these into more compact, related families.

Lilies are showy monocot flowers. The plants are herbaceous perennials, propagating from underground bulbs. The flowers have six, colored tepals (not petals) in two whorls of three each. Though lilies produce seeds, they are not viable.

Lilies are widely distributed, mostly in warm temperate and tropical regions. They are valuable ornamental plants and are traded as cut flowers.
The oil extracted from lilies has healing and softening properties for sensitive skin. Especially, when the lily fragrance oil is mixed with Calendula oil, it works wonderfully.

Lily flowers stand for love, purity, femininity, unity and transience.
We will look at a few flowers that bear the name Lily; may not be ‘True Lilies’ technically, according to new classification.

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Daylily
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Amaryllis lily
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Rain lily

 

Smile of Earth- 11

Ixora flowers

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Dwarf variety

Ixora plant is related to coffee plant and belongs to the Family Rubiaceae. Ixora is native to Asia, now widely seen in tropical gardens.

There are about 400 species spread across Africa, India to Southern Asia. They differ in leaf size, plant height, flower size and flower colour. This plant which blooms throughout the year is easy to grow.

Plants are normally sturdy shrubs of 7-8 ft height and the dwarfs are of 1-2 ft. Dwarfs have small leaves and are bushy. Ixora flowers last well when put into a vase with water, making an attractive home arrangement.

Ixora flowers, leaves and roots are used to treat various ailments in the Indian traditional system of medicine, the Ayurveda, especially that of the dwarf varieties.

Ixora is the national flower of Suriname.

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White ixora
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Yellow- Buds
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Regular variety

Smile of Earth- 10

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Purple princess flower – Tibouchina semidecandra

Purple flowers

With purple tied to royalty and ceremony, purple flowers represent dignity, pride and success. An arrangement filled with purple blooms represents accomplishment and admiration.

Having said that, here I am with four deep purple-coloured flowers. No… not the ones that are generally used in flower arrangements!

Purple princess flowers (Tibouchina semidecandra) and Bush clock vine flowers (Thunbergia erecta) are produced on sturdy shrubs. They are attractive hedge plants in any garden.
Butterfly-pea flower (Clitoria ternatea) and Purple morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) are climbers. They are excellent for garden fencing.

Purple butterfly-pea flower is well known for its use as a caffeine free beverage (tea), widely used in many Asian countries.

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Bush clock vine- Thunbergia erecta
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Butterfly-pea flower- Clitoria ternatea
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Purple morning glory- Ipomoea purpurea

Smile of Earth- 9

Clerodendrum

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Clerodendrum infortunatum- Hill glorybower

The genus Clerodendrum is native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the world, with most of the species occurring in southern Asia and tropical Africa. Many species are widely distributed throughout the continents.

Most of the species are ornamental with bright and attractive flowers. The flowers provide food for butterflies, Sunbirds, and Hummingbirds.
Many species of this genus have been described in various indigenous systems of medicine and are used in preparation of folklore medicines for the treatment of various life-threatening diseases. Many of Clerodendrum genus have been very well studied for their chemical constituents and biological activities.

Clerodendrum belongs to the family Lamiaceae and are mostly woody shrubs.

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Clerodendrum paniculatum- Pagoda flower (Krishna kireedam)
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Clerodendrum splendens- Flaming glorybower
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Seed head- Flaming glorybower

Smile of Earth- 8

Oh My Gourd!

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Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia)- Female flower

The Gourd family (Cucurbitaceae) of flowering plants has about 950+ species of vegetable and ornamental plants. Members of the family are annual or perennial herbs native to temperate and tropical areas and include cucumbers, gourds, melons, squashes, and pumpkins.
These are fast-growing creeping or climbing vines.

Most species have unisexual flowers, borne in the leaf axils. Flowers may be white or yellow. Male flowers have up to five anthers, often fused or joined and in female flowers the ovary is seen at an inferior level to petals.
The fruit in most species is a fleshy many-seeded berry with a tough rind, often attaining considerable size. The seeds are flattened.

Enjoy these cheerful yellow flowers of  Gourd family!

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Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo)- Male flower
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Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)- Female flower
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Ash gourd (Benincasa hispida)- Male flower

 

Smile of Earth- 7

Ginger family flowers

1White Ginger Lily
White Ginger Lily- Hedychium coronarium (Saugandhikapoo)

Ginger family (Zingiberaceae) is a family of flowering plants with aromatic perennial herbs.

Flowers may be showy or inconspicuous, as seen in these pictures. When inconspicuous, they are seen in showy cymose inflorescences, formed by conspicuous, spirally arranged bracts (leaflike structures). These flower clusters are cone-like in appearance. The Zingiberaceae flowers resemble orchid flowers.

Many species are economically important as ornamental plants, spices, or are used in traditional medicine. A few examples of this family are Ginger, Turmeric, Cardamom, Arrowroot etc.

The Insulin plant is a relative of this family.

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Wild ginger- Zingiber zerumbet  (Mala inji)
3Insulin plant
Insulin plant- Costus igneus
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Red ginger- Alpinia purpurata

Smile of Earth- 6

Spadix Inflorescence 

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Anthurium

A Spadix is a type of inflorescence found in the Araceae family.

It consists of a spathe, which is simply a large leaf-like bract, colourful or showy, to attract pollinators. Spadix is the cylindrical inflorescence, basically a spike, with small flowers on a thickened, fleshy axis and it is protected by the spathe in bud stage.

Many Aroids are ornamental plants due to the Spadix and Spathe.

The sap of Aroids contains needle-like calcium oxalate crystals, which can be mildly toxic and can irritate hands and sensitive tissues. However, not all aroids are toxic and used as vegetable, including their leaves.

Some members of this family reproduce by seeds, whereas many have vegetative propagation.

The inflorescence of species such as Titan arum gives off a very pungent smell, often resembling rotten flesh.

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Peace Lily
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Wild Taro
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Calla Lilly