LOVE AND HATE
There is a plant we knew in Micronesia that is a magnificent medicine for fungal infections – cassia alata. We have a friend on Valley Road in need of it, but alas it does not grow here (says Austin). We found some flowering on the way to Suva and got some for our friend … but then.
I found some growing on Valley Road after all! YAY. It is that plant with the pretty yellow flower.
In the northern hemisphere it blooms around Christmas. So… the blooms tell us it is Christmas in July down here. The common and pretty name for cassia alata is Candle Flower. It also has a cheeky name in Chamorro — taki beeha — if you want to know, ask a Guamanian.
Austin has tried to grow “taki beeha” 3 times already and failed. But he is giving it another go – this time in our greenhouse.
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And 180 degrees from “useful” is my number one despised plant: spathodia.
While on the tree walk, Junia told me that a bio-gas company is cutting down spathodia trees. Finally a use for that useless darned invasive farm-killer!
Almost immediately, Junia pointed out to me where some spathodia were freshly felled.
Here is a copy of my rant about spathodia from 4 years ago (and I still stand by it):
Why do I hate spathodia, you may ask. I thought it over. Spathodia is like the bitchy trophy wife. Not content to be just an ornamental of no other value, the spathodia throws down leaves that poison the ground below and make the soil bitter and unusable. In Spanish it called “matar finca” (kill the farm). The Fijians call it “peece-peece” (i.e. piss-piss) in honour of the missed-the-toilet fragrance of its flowers. The kicker of it is that whereas “a tree without fruit is fit only for the fire” – spathodia has wet wood that doesn’t even burn well!
So now I know it is okay for bio-gas. Great. May they all serve as bio-gas fodder.
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I am still in Canada. And I wish you all a very happy week.
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