Hedychium coronarium

This is an attractive ginger with white, highly fragrant flowers.  It originated from Nepal and India in the Himalaya region and is the national flower of Cuba.  It is also known as 'White Ginger Lily' as well as 'White Butterfly' Ginger.

The Jasmine-like fragrance of this ginger is extracted for perfumes and becomes more intense at night. When the flower first emerges it is yellowish in color but soon turn white. I got a piece of rhizhome last year and planted it in the back yard and now the plant is about 4 to 5 feet in height.


Ocimum gratissimum - Shrubby Basil

This is an interesting herb used in Thai cooking.  I spent a great deal of time trying to look for its name and finally managed to get it from a Thai gentleman.  It is known as "Yeera" in Thai and the scientific name is Ocimum gratissimum .  Its other names include krapow yuan, horapaa chang as well as shrubby basil  (English).   I had earlier mistaken it for Elsholtzia ciliata cos the pictures on line look so similar. 

It has an interesting and unique minty fragrance and is used in fried meat dishes.  I am sure it can be used raw so i would like to try using it to wrap some fish meat together with basil. I think it'll be a perfect combination. 

It does look like some weed growing in somebody's backyard except for the strong fragrance when the leaves are rubbed. 

To grow this herb, you can either use the seeds or stick some cuttings into the ground (like growing basil).


Interesting Basil

This is the common Thai Basil, Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflorum .  Widely used in many Thai, Viet and Indo-china dishes.  The stalk of this variety turns purple when grown in full sun.
This is Ocimum sanctumThai Holy Basil, known in Thailand as "Krapow".  Although it is suppose to be the same plant as Tulsi (Indian Holy Basil), the fragrance of the Thai variety is much stronger and the leaves are much bigger.
This is purple basil, O. basilicum 'Purple Ruffles' Bought this plant from Far East Flora. It's fragrance is very similar to the common Thai Basil.


Bhut Jolokia

The legendary 'Ghost Chili' from Assam India.  So hot that you will be in pain for hours if you get the juice onto your hands. 

Somebody gave one of these to my mother many years ago and i remembered putting one slice into soy sauce and the soy sauce became so hot i could not handle it. 

Thanks to Jason for giving this pod to me.  Such a beautiful pod with three colors - and so deadly.  I will try to germinate the seeds.

Interesting Flower of Typhonium trilobatum

This is the second time i see this strange flower in my backyard.  I used to pull out this plant when i see it in the garden cos i thought it was some useless weed.  Nowadays i let it grow and hopefully i can see the flower again.

The flower has a pungent 'cat poop' smell and is probably meant to attract some kind of flies.  However i did not see any flies hovering around the flower this morning.  it is also not long lasting cos when i got back from work at around 6.30 pm the flower had withered, turning soft and brown.

After checking through google i found that this plant is probably Typhonium trilobatum or some related species  (马蹄犁头尖 in mandarin).  
This is the picture of the flower this morning:

This is how the leaf looks like:


White Torch Ginger Etlingera elatior

The flowers of Etlingera elatior are usually pink or red in color but this is the albino form which has pure white flowers.  The flowers are extremely beautiful and brightens up the ground below the huge leaves. 

Two weeks ago                                                          

Last week

This morning

Aji Orchid chili

I thought i'd lost this chili when i tried to take out some seeds from the fridge and tried to germinate them - none germinated.  So i frantically took out all the boxes of seeds and to my horror i found that there is only one box labelled 'SB' (my code for this chili cos at first i thought it is scotch bonnet): that's the one with the unseccessful seeds.  There was a box without any labels but somehow i had a feeling that the seeds look like aji's so i tried them.  When the flowers bloomed i was very sure i got the right one cos the flowers were big and the petals had a large green patch in the middle.  Now i'm waiting for them to ripen so i can harvest some seeds for next year.


An Interesting Weed

Every now and then this weed would appear around the base of the plants and i would try to pull it out.  A few days ago, i spotted a big plant which was flowering. A pleasant surprise! I have absolutely no idea the flower would look like this.  An absolutely wicked looking black flower.  Why would a flower be black in color? Interesting!!  I did not smell anything in the air but perhaps i was not equipped to. 


Curcuma roscoeana

This ginger is extremely difficult to get.  It is supposedly medicinal (not sure what it cures) but i really love it for the color of the flowers.  The bright orange color really gives me a boost everytime i see it in the morning.  No need for coffee!