Jan 9, 2008

Sugandhi - A Flower



Image source :http://www.hear.org/starr/hiplants/images/thumbnails/html/hedychium_coronarium.htm

The Sugandhi (in Konkani) flower is something which I grew up with all around me as a kid, hence its very nostalgic. A wonderful flower that many of you might have seen and are aware of. The flowers are so fragrant, that from a distance of the plant, you know there is a bloom. It blooms in the evenings only, so the fresh scent fills the air and the house if you have a plant near the window or so. From a single bud, there will be a whole cluster of flowers and I specially like them coz they look so clean, and crisp and elegant. Unfortunately, the life of each flower is only one day. Also, if you cut it from the stem, it will wither away very soon. So, it’s best left by itself to adorn the garden.

So, a little google search on this wonderful flower gave me some info, and I thought it would be nice to share with all.

The common English name: White butterfly ginger lily, or simply ginger lily
Also known by these names in India, Dolan champa (Hindi), Takhellei angouba (Manipuri), Sontaka (Marathi), Suruli Sugandhi (Kannada)
Botanical Name: Hedychium coronarium

It is a plant native to India. It is a popular landscape plant throughout Florida, the Gulf Coast, California, the Caribbean and tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. Ginger lily also is grown in mild winter temperate regions of North America and Europe where it dies back in winter but re-emerges in spring. It is a very vigorous growing plant and needs to be divided often. The plant is easy to grow and needs wet and moist soil.

The species is said to be introduced by settlers in Hawaii. The Natives refer to white ginger as ‘Awapuhi’, using the juice of mature seed as a hair and skin treatment.

It’s a very common plant in Brazil and considered to be an invasive seed. It seems it was brought to this country by African slaves who used the leaves of this plant as mattresses.

It is the national flower of Cuba, known as ‘Flor de Mariposa’, meaning ‘Butterfly flower’, coz its similar to a flying white butterfly.

Uses: A very interesting article I read talks about the medicinal values of this plant. The Gulbakawali Ark (extract) sold in the Chhattisgarh region of India, is an extract from the flower. The flowers are collected and through indigenous method of steam distillation Ark (extract) is collected. The rhizomes (a stem which grows underground and sends out shoots above and roots below ) are the source of essential oil that is used in perfumery and pharmaceutical preparations. The rhizome of Gulbakawali is used in Chinese natural medicine and has been prescribed and used in treatment of headache, lancinating pain, inflammatory and intense pain due to rheumatism etc. It also has uses as tonic, excitant and anti-rheumatic in the Ayurvedic system. An essential oil obtained from the flowers is valued in high grade perfumes.

This picture was clicked and sent to me by my cousin, from their garden in India :)

I would like to send this as my entry to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Vani of Batasari and originally started by Kalyn.

These are the sources of my info and you can read more here
http://www.botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/196_gulbakawali.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedychium_coronariummage

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16 Comments:

Meera said...

Wow! What a fragrant post, Maya! I think this is called "Sontakka" in Marathi. What a perfect name in Konkani - Sugandhi, the fragrant one. I didn't know this name. Something new I learn every day.

Meera said...

Sorry, Maya. As soon as I saw the pictures I wrote the comment in a haste. I was so excited to see those pictures. because it is one of my favorite flowers;
Actually you have already explained in your post that it's called Sontakka in Marathi. & guess what? I have planted it in a pot here. SO far I have got 7 shoots/plants but no flowers yet. If at all I get flowers I will show the pictures. I don't know if this winter is going to be too harsh for it. (it's inside, but still!)

Maya said...

Hey, no prob Meera :)..Hope you get plenty of flowers frm ur plant and would be glad to see the pics..

Mansi Desai said...

I had a friend by that name Maya:) very nice post!

btw, I'm hosting an event on my blog this month and it'd be great if you could participate...check details on my blog:)

Asha said...

I remember seeing these in my grandfather's place. I loved Sampige Hoovu too, so fragrant and beautiful to look at. Great post Maya!:)

Maya said...

Hey Asha, I love Sampige too..Will post abt tht and Hibiscus soon too :)..

Suganya said...

I have never seen this flower in Tamil Nadu. But the name 'Suganthi' tells a lot about it.

beena said...

Maya, we grew this plant in our place in Karwar. This article bought memories of it, and I remember aunties wearing it. Thanks for this post as I learnt more about this flower..

Kalyn said...

What a beautiful flower. I've never seen anything quite like this growing here in Utah.

Maya said...

That's rite Suganya, the name itself gives you the idea :)...

Beena, thanx for visiting the blog and ur comment :)..

Kalyn, Am glad I could send it across to your wonderful event :)..

Purnima said...

Maya..ur post took me down the memory lane, my mhave's(maternal aunt) name is Sugandhi,she used to love these seasonal flowers, and when a lady used to come selling this door-to-door,she used to buy it.The smell truly heavenly..and best part was 'Gantuchey' I used to help her with that..just holding it,while she used to weave thru sugandhi forming intricate braids!It was meant as adornment for our home mandir!Tku so much for posting..n i also loved the champa tree in native, as we used to visit in summer, used to love the fragrance it spread around!

Ashamayi said...

Hi Maya,
I love Sugandhi too..really nostalgic.The pale yellow colored ones are even more beautiful! How I wish they invented something that when we see a pic on the net we can click on an icon and then smell the fragrance!Such lovely flowers, I had the plants in our garden but this flourishes only when the weather is moist with rains.

Anonymous said...

I brought some plants from Kumbla,Kera;a to USA .The plants are growing but I wait for a flower.The plants are growing but never flowers.I tried even flowering chemicals without success.God bless for the fragrant flowerksnayak1931@gmail.com.

Subhash Damle said...

I have grown these plant in our outside garden in Virginia. if the plant is small and in pot it may not give flowers, but usually from second year on they bloom. They bloom in late summer and fall. You don't need checmicals or anything. I even leave them outside in winter covering with plastic sheet and mulch, and they will multiply duirng the winter dormancy and sprout back in spring. Just remove the plastic after mid-march when you see the buds and then cover with mulch. They will multiply and spread.

Debasish Roy said...

Dolan Champa is not the Hindi name but the Bangla name used in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

rani said...

Wow such a nice picture of sontakka flower. we had this plant in my mother's garden and in the evenings my father would bring 2-3 flowers in the house. I can feel the fragrance just by looking at these pictures. Thanks for bringing my memories back.
...Rani