Sunday, 25 September 2016

Clerodendrum trichotomum

"Clerodendrum trichotomum -- Harlequin Glorybower"

Clerodendrum trichotomum, commonly known as Harlequin Glorybower, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Clerodendrum. A member of the Family Lamiaceae (the Mint family), it is native to China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and India.  It is now found in gardens throughout the world.

Harlequin Glorybower shrub 
(Internet -- source unknown)
C. trichotomum  is a shrub which grows to 3–6 metres (10–20 ft) in height. The leaves are long, soft and downy. The fragrant flowers have white petals, held within a calyx which turns red as the fruits ripen. The berries (known as drupes) are white, changing to bright blue and eventually dark blue on maturity (see drawing below). They contain the novel, blue pigment Trichotomine

The genus name, Clerodendrum, comes from the Greek words: kleros (meaning chance or luck) and dendron (meaning tree). The species name, trichotomum, comes from the Latin and means “branching into three”. 

Speaking of threes, this fascinating plant has three interesting characteristics: 

1) When crushed, the leaves emit the odour of peanut butter which is why one of the common names for C. trichotomum is the “peanut butter tree”. 
2) The blue pigment contained in the berries has a novel chromophore structure which differs from previously studied plant pigments. 
3) The seeds and other parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested and handling the plant may cause mild allergic reactions in some people.  So, handle with care.

"Berries of Clerodendrum trichotomum (Harlequin Glorybower)", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


Often, it feels as though my home really belongs to Suki and she is just kind enough to allow me to live here!  How has this cat with the arthritic hips been able to work such magic on me?  

I'm sorry -- I am ranting away here while you are probably wondering what on earth Suki has done to cause me to be this upset.  So, let me try to explain...

About a week ago, Joycelyn and I figured out a new arrangement for the furniture in my living room.  This arrangement, it seemed to us, would provide sufficient seating whenever guests came to visit and, the remainder of the time, could easily accommodate me and my special needs.  In the past, I have always had to move a few things around in order to have my living room in good order for visitors.  Then, after they had left, I would have to move things back again to make it easier for me to get in and out of my recliner and to walk around the living room safely.

Joycelyn, with a bit of help from my building's maintenance man, moved the furniture.  In just a few minutes, everything was moved into place, leaving us very pleased with the results.  With this new arrangement, I now have a good set-up for keeping medications, walker, etc. close at hand while the remaining area of the living room appears, it seems to me, as a cozy and comfortable place for my visitors to sit and talk, easily able to visit with each other and with me.

In order to achieve the right balance of chairs, tables, etc., I moved one of Suki's favourite after-supper-napping chairs, which has been sitting in the entrance hall for some years, into the living room. Even though I know that cats hate change, I thought Suki might approve of this arrangement as this would mean that now her two favourite chairs for evening sleeps were located in the living room. Now, the usual trip from one chair to another would be shorter and less painful.

[As you may recall, after Suki has had her supper, she likes to sleep for a couple of hours in one or other of these two chairs. She spends a couple of hours in the first chair, then she awakens and moves to the other favourite chair where she sleeps until around 10:45 p.m. From that point forward, until I say "time for bed", Suki "sleeps" on the top of the wingback chair -- the highest point in the living room suitable for "sleeping" (I put "sleeping" in quotes because she is really just watching me for any signs of movement!).]

Since the re-arrangement of the living room, however, something new has been occurring in Suki's evening ritual.  Now, instead of perching on the back of the wingback chair in order to carefully observe me, Suki is waking up in her second favourite chair about 10 p.m. rather than 10:45 p.m. Then, instead of heading for her usual high point on the wingback, she comes over and jumps up onto my recliner while I am still reclining in it!  Next, she searches for a spot where there seems to be a bit of space and then she begins pushing against me until I move just enough to allow her to curl up, give herself a brief paw-and-face washing and then go to sleep.  

And, when I say sleep this time, I really mean sleep.  This surprised me at first but then I realized that when Suki was on the back of the chair, she had to stay awake just enough so that she would hear or see any movements on my part.  Now, however, she knows that I cannot move with waking her up.  And, somehow, this sitting-on-me-business seems more like punishment than kitty coziness! 

Do you have any idea how heavy a cat lying on your legs can begin to feel after about an hour? Then there is the inevitable problem with "pins and needles" which leaves my legs feeling so numb that even though I want to kick Suki onto the floor, I am no longer able to do so!   

So, here I am almost 7 days after re-arranging the living room, wondering such things as:  

  • how much space in our home will Suki allow me to keep for myself; 
  • if I put everything back the way it was before, will Suki go back to behaving the way she did prior to my changing things; and, 
  • how much is Suki going to make me suffer for changing things in the first place?
Woe is me for ever putting my needs ahead of those of Suki! 

Other than this on-going battle with Suki, I am doing reasonably well although I did have a difficult week due to my own foolishness. Let me explain... 

This past Tuesday, I ended up trying to cram too many tests and doctor's appointments into one day.  By the time I returned home, after spending almost 5 hours in the hospital going from one place to another, I was experiencing such severe nerve pain that I thought I might have to return to the hospital -- to the emergency department.

The discomfort finally begin to subside around 4 early Wednesday morning and, over the days since, has continued to lessen somewhat.  Hopefully, by this time next week, things will be completely back to normal -- whatever normal is!

Otherwise, I am expecting a quiet week ahead and I wish the same for all of you.  




"Icon -- Father Abraham", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2016

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”  Luke 16:19-31

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