Friday, May 24, 2013

My black flower: Typhonium-divaricatum

Typhonium flagelliforme is a species of flowering plant in the family Araceae.[2]
 This photo, I cropped it to show just the flower. The spathe is the big petal-like part that people consider the "flower". It looks like a tongue.  The spadix is the thin spike part sticking out of it. It looks like a Dragon Arum, but the leaves are different. Can some one ID it?
About 20 years ago, I found the original plant in the jungles near to NTU. The Singapore government left the jungle for the soldiers to practise their warfare. Only a crazy person like me would ignore signs with 2 rifles on them.

I nurtured it, one day, many many years later, I saw the black flower. Not black black but burgundy black. The colour of dark liver. I was very excited. Many people come to my plants and they wowed at my "black tulip." I had a gardening column on NTU staff's Nanyang connect website, so the plant is seen all round the world as the professors are international.

So I grew many pots to present it friends. Strange as it may seem, my friends could not make their plants flower. It was as if some one says some people put a voodoo so that only they could have the special plant.

The bloom lasts only 1 day and is best only in the early morning. It doesn't bloom much. May be once every 2 years. If you don't catch it blooming in the morning, you have to wait for another year or 2. This applies only if you have a green thumb like me. 

This reminds me of the search for the black tulip. Only this slipper like flower is so rare. You see, I snuck into the jungle and stole the mother plant and brought the jungle back with me. I had been quite successful in propagating the plant in pots. 

An Australian friend thinks that a similar plant in Australia is called the black slipper. The way the bloom disappears reminds me of Cinderella having to rush back before the carriage turned back into the pumpkin. Perhaps the Aussie person was a great fan of children's stories and named it Cinderella, one of my all time favourites when I was young.

One Christmas, I received an email with a power point of presentation of flowers. This flower made their last page. My friend said it's your plant. They cropped it without the pot.

It makes me wonder if that photo came from my original plant photo. If they did, I wish, they would at least credit me. My lawyer daughter says, you didn't copyright it, you didn't water mark it. It's your own fault. At least, you feel privilege that some one borrowed your flower.

I am so excited, 2 of my FB friends have told me that they have it in Sarawak, and Luke tells me he has it in his garden, and 

  • Xiao Feng Huang Ann Chin this plant is highly 

    toxic,used externally forboils and 

    snake bites.In chinese is 土半

    夏.Latin name is typhonium divar


Typhonium is a genus in the Araceae family endemic to 

tropical Asia, the South Pacific, andAustralia. It consists of 

approximately 50 species that are typically found growing in 

wooded areas.


Unknown said...

The dark colour is very striking.

Magia da Inês said...


Passei para uma visitinha.
Eu nunca vi nenhuma flor que tivesse a pétala preta... mas já vi um antúrio, provavelmente criado em laboratório, que era vinho escuro, bem escuro, mas não chegava ao preto.

Bom fim de semana!
彡❤❤ Beijinhos

Unknown said...

a very rare find.