Seasonal Almanac

Start of autumn: cool wind arrives (2 of 5)

February 6th, 2009

Start of autumn 2 of 15A couple of months earlier during the Christmas period I noticed the franginpis (Plumeria ruba) in the neighbourhood further down the hill were in full bloom. Our tree in the frontyard remained recalcitrant to the seasonal dictates and refused to flower. In the last month of hot weather however its buds grew quickly in bunches and burst open. The flowers at the different stages of opening look very fractal.

Being a subtropical plant, the fragrance of the flowers is inseparable with memories of warmer climes. In Australia, they generally flower from December to April; in Hong Kong, they are in bloom for much longer. One of the plant’s common name there is ‘Egg flower’. Chinese herbalists apparently recommend the use of its flowers to concoct medicinal tea that prevents heat strokes although one should take care to avoid the milky white sap from its trunk, which is poisonous and can cause vomitting, fever, and diarrhoea etc. when ingested.

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