Sunday, 5 February 2017

Hedychium coronarium Butterfly Ginger

"Hedychium coronarium -- Butterfly Ginger", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

Hedychium coronarium, commonly called white ginger lily or white garland flower, is a perennial flowering plant and a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to China, Laos, Myanmar and to the Himalayas region of Nepal and India. Over time, Hedychium coronarium was introduced to other locations such as Brazil and Hawaii. Unfortunately, as is so often the result of mankind's meddling with Nature, in these locations it is now listed as an invasive species. 

The white ginger lily produces pure white, showy flowers which emerge from one large bud sometime in late spring or early summer at the tip of each unbranched stem. Each flower lasts about one day. Several hundred flowers can appear from each bud during a typical 6-week blooming period. Each stem grows to about five feet tall.

These herbaceous perennials spread by underground rhizomes, often forming dense clumps of multiple stems. Large, simple leaves are borne on either side of the thick green stems. The flowers eventually give way to showy seed pods full of bright red seeds. 

The genus name, Hedychium, comes from the Greek words “hedys” meaning sweet and “chion” meaning snow. The species name, coronarium, is from the Latin and means crown, wreath or garland. The white ginger lily has been used in wreaths, garlands and leis for centuries. 

Another way in which these flowers have been used over the centuries is as a fragrance for perfumes, pomades and soaps using a process known as enfleurage. [Enfleurage is a process that uses odorless fats that are solid at room temperature to capture the fragrant compounds exuded by plants.

I was attracted to the idea of drawing this particular plant because of the butterfly shape of the flower petals.  It is interesting how quickly our brains try to find patterns or similarities to familiar objects whenever we see something new.  Of course, as we are all aware, many plants, insects, reptiles and animals have evolved in such a way as to appear to be some other thing or creature at first glance.  It is certainly a good way to hide in plain sight or to appear to be something unpalatable or inedible.  However, this flower just happens to remind us of the shape of butterflies and that is a shape that most of us find both easily recognizable as well as pleasing.

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


Suki settling down in her "after-lunch,
favourite chair"!
Suki had a difficult week.  

For some reason, she ended up getting sick to her stomach early in the week (after gobbling down her lunch) and, as a consequence, she has been allowed only a very small serving of her turkey with gravy a couple of times a day since. Otherwise, she has been on a steady diet of dry food and water!  

Every day, I have had to listen to Suki complain about the situation. I am sure that if I could understand "cat-speak", I would hear Suki saying something like: "Honest, I am feeling fine again so there is no reason not to give me a big dish of the good stuff..."

Thus far, on her restricted diet, she hasn't gotten sick again. Slowly, now, I intend to begin increasing the amount of wet food I give her daily while decreasing the amount of dry food until we are back to her regular feeding schedule.  Whatever happens, I do not want Miss Suki gaining back the weight which she has, with my patient assistance, lost during these past months -- especially because I know that I have to take her for an appointment with the vet before too much longer!

As for me, I continue to try and regain the strength and energy I lost while recently sick with the "flu".  Actually, because of the way I am feeling these days, I am considering ending the regular posting of my blog, salliesART. While I continue to do my art work whenever I feel well enough, I, too often these days, don't feel well enough to even write my name!  So, as you can imagine, the pressure to have a new drawing ready each week is putting me under more stress these days than I need or like.  As well, I often feel forced to push myself to keep working on a drawing even when I don't really have the energy to do so.

I could, perhaps, try posting every two weeks or even once a month and it is possible that I may choose one of these two options. I haven't come to a final decision yet and I would certainly welcome your comments or suggestions about the matter.

It has been almost ten years now since I started this blog and so maybe it is time I closed it down -- or at least took a bit of a break from regular postings.  

So, I may be posting something next Sunday or I may wait until Sunday, the 19th, before posting again.  At this point, it all depends on how I am feeling in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, I wish all of you much happiness and peaceful joy in the days ahead.


No comments: