Tuesday, 17 November 2009

What is it?

I have been trying for the past hour to upload this drawing -- Google/Blogger had a problem so I just had to wait them out!
Anyway, I finally made it.

So, let me tell you about this sweet smelling flower. Its common name is "Rangoon Creeper" and it originated in southeast Asia. Now it is found in many parts of the world --I noticed that in Jamaica the common name is "Rice and Peas". That famous dish is made from rice and red beans -- the same colours as the flowers in the drawing. Supposedly these blooms emerge white but soon darken to pink and then to red.

The Family name is Combretaceae; the Genus is Quisqualis; the Species is Q. indica. The genus "Quisqualis" is Latin for "What is this?" which is the title of this posting. These Latin names look so impressive and unpronounceable and now we find out that someone named a plant "what is it?" I think that is pretty funny.

This is a very interesting plant which is largely used for traditional medicine. Decoctions of the root, seed or fruit can be used for alleviating diarrhea. People with sore throats can gargle with a decoction made from the fruit. The fruit is also used to combat nephritis. The leaves can be used to relieve pain caused by fever. The roots are used to treat rheumatism.

It is interesting how plants have always been used to treat ailments and then scientists eventually discover that the plants actually contain chemicals they have been trying to make in the laboratory!

I just discovered tonight how much information about me is now on the Internet. I mean, I know that nothing is hidden on the wild world of the Internet, but it is a bit of a shock the first time you are actually confronted by it. Thankfully, there are many other women named Sallie Thayer out there and one who is even an artist and has a web site called "salliesart.com". But still when you see your name, phone number, email and even some of the charitable contributions you have made right there for everyone to see, it is rather breathtaking.

Well, may peace be with us all.

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