Thursday, April 30, 2009

Two Kinds Of Aromatic Plants

In full bloom in early April was this Night Blooming Jasmine.
This photo was taken in the hospital grounds at Haflong. The
fragrance was intoxicating and I suppose no garden should be
without this lovely plant.

Cestrum nocturnum is also known as Raat ki Rani in our country.
It means "Queen of the Night". And rightly so. For its fragrance
is wonderful and the surrounding area is filled with it. The
flowers are small and cream-coloured and are in clusters. The
shrub produces three or four flushes of flowers in a year,
lasting for about two weeks or so.

After the night's rain...amazing that without the fragrance,
the blooms seem less spectacular.

In my mother's garden, the Tej Patta was in full bloom. The
name I've used is in Hindi. The botanical name is Cinnamomum
tamala/Cinnamomum tejpatta. The tree is medium-sized and the
tough leaves are three-veined. The leaves are aromatic and
used in a lot of Indian dishes. For us, a kitchen without
tej-patta would be incomplete. It is often referred to as
the Indian bay leaf.

The following is the information I got from Wikipedia.

Cinnamomum is a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs belonging
to the Laurel family, Lauraceae. The species of cinnamomum have
aromatic oils in their leaves and bark. The genus contains 300
species distributed in tropical and sub-tropical areas around
the world. The etymology is derived from the Greek word
"kinnamomon' meaning spice.

Although Tej patta is called the Indian bay leaf, it is different
from the one used in Mediterranean/Western cooking. Tej patta has
a flavour that reminds you of cinnamon. The leaves of the Bay Laurel/
Laurus nobilis, also extensively used in soups, stews, and other
dishes, has a milder flavour.


Becca's Dirt said...

It is so interesting to see what is going on in other parts of the world. I am enjoying reading your blog about plants in India. I bet your 'bay leaf' is good with the cinnamon flavor. We do love our cinnamon. Have a nice day and happy gardening... Becca

easygardener said...

I saw the Cestrum in Greece last year. We spent ages tracking down the amazing evening fragrance and were surprised to find it was coming from such tiny, relatively innocuous flowers. Unfortunately the cuttings I brought home all died!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kanak, What beautiful clusters of flowers; wish I could smell the wonderful fragrance! It's also interesting to read about the leaves that you use in cooking. Always such a joy to learn about your beautiful plants on your blog.

tina said...

I actually have cerastum nocturnum! It is hardy here in a friend's garden. I took a few cuttings and walah! Very easy to root. I lost the initial one but just planted out two the other day! So cool!

tina said...

P.S. Mine will never get that big though.

Dirt Princess said...

Jasmine is wonderful. Its fragrance can light up an entire garden

Prospero said...

Hi. I like your blog. I love the tall bamboo on your header image. I think we have a lot in common. I come from Bermuda. I read, with interest, about your Cinnamomum. I grow Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and love my tree. I also looked at some other entries on your blog and see that we grow many of the same plants. Do you have a Neem tree?

Susie said...

Kanak I always enjoy visiting your blog and learning something new.

Love your new header!

joey said...

Thank you, dear Kanak ... always a joy to see and smell your loving piece of earth. Though miles and oceans separate, kindred souls are near.

My Mother's Garden said...

Hi Kanak~
Great post!
My Cestrum nocturnum is blooming right now, it usually blooms around the full moon but has surprised me this month on the new moon. It truly is a magical plant when the sun goes down.

Chandramouli S said...

I love the Night blooming Jasmine! Lovely fragrance, do they have!
Of course what would we do without Tejpatta? The famous Tamâlapattra!

Stephanie said...

I have a tree infront of my house that looks like Cinnamomum tejpatta. Does this tree shed its leaves a lot?

Anonymous said...

Your post took me wafting down memory lane. We had the Night Queen at home when I was a child -- more than half-a-century ago! What heady fragrance! Haven't seen another plant in a long, long time!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Becca, thank you so much! We got the first heavy rain of the year today and the temp came down so it was pleasant being out there-- weeding. Love to take a peek at other gardens, like you glad I'm on Blotanical.

EG, honestly, there's nothing spectacular about the tiny blooms as such. Too bad your cuttings died. I hope you have better luck next time.

Thanks mildred, exactly my sentiments when I visit Nalley Valley. Have a great weekend.

Tina...good for you! I hope they thrive well!

Dirt Princess, oh I agree, I agree! And thank you so much for stopping by.

Prospero, thanks a ton, for visiting, and for your kind words. The header photo was taken at my mother's garden. It's interesting to see the same plants grown halfway across the world. I'll soon be there at your blog. No, I don't have a Neem tree. Mine is a small area and I don't have space for trees. I do have a few fruit trees but that's about it.

Susie, thanks and I'm so glad you mentioned it.

Oh Joey, LOVE your words!!! Thank you so much!

Chandramouli, it's interesting to delve into the history of everyday, ordinary things, isn't it?

Stephanie, it doesn't. I noticed there were very few leaves on the ground when I took the photos.

Shailaja, so good to read your comment! I'm glad my post brought back memories of your childhood.