Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yellow basil seeds.

1/3 cup sugar into 2 cups water (use less sugar as per your taste preference), add 1 tablespoon honey and stir. Then add 4 teaspoons of sweet basil seed. Within 2-3 minutes the basil seeds expand and look very odd, a bit like tadpoles! We imagine this could be an interesting party drink. But it's also delicious--the seeds become soft with a consistency similar to eating watermelon. According to Thai tradition, this drink also helps a person lose weight. In Asian stores it's common to see cans of this drink. 
This basil seed aka frog eggs drink had got me curious since I was in school. My sis Margaret came home after her sports training.Not too long ago, I found it is a Vietnamese shop. Then I saw it in the chendol stall in Changi airport.
Today, I asked the guy at the Vietnamese shop, and he showed me the seeds. Now I can have a million tadpoles.

Stay mellow with yellow!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fruit Tree for the birds Solanum mauritianum (Bugweed)

This fruit tree is at the corner of my deck. Right now, in Summer, the tree is in it's different stages. There are little clusters of  purple flowerlets. There are new fruits and yellow ripe fruits.
New Zealand native birds come and eat them. Once, Rose and I tried to eat them. there are a lot of little seeds. each fruit is about the size of a small glass marble that my brothers used to play with their mates in Sibu.  We didn't dare to eat more other than to taste them. Birds eat them. It is sweet but has a slight bitter taste.
Upon close examination, there are a small set of leaves hidden inside the big leaves.
Woolly nightshade has naturalized in New Zealand. It had arrived there by 1880, and is now well established from Taupo northward. Woolly Nightshade is poisonous and handling the plants can cause irritation and nausea. The dust from the plant can cause respiratory problems if exposure is prolonged. Because of its ability to affect human health and because of its aggressive and fast growing character it is illegal in all areas of New Zealand to sell, propagate, or distribute any part of the plant.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

ANZAC Day, We remember.

I walk past this garden everyday. I am awed by the manicure landscaping. Sometimes, I whack out my camera. And snap a photo or two. I feel awkward, Just in case the owner is around.

Recently, as I walked past, The lady was tidying her garden. I said :Hi and beautiful garden." She said, it could do much more work. But, Alas she is too old. I told her, I walk pass everyday. I snap photos of her garden. "Feel free to take photos, even when I am not here. Then she too be a tour, to her beautiful garden. And giving me lessons of some of her plants.

These are no ordinary poppies. They are called Flanders poppies. Flanders to remember the WW1, The poppies of Flanders. I am so happy I stopped to say hi. Today, I am owner of this precious knowledge. I share this with you. In Flanders fields The red or Flanders poppy has been linked with battlefield deaths since the time of the Great War (1914–18). The plant was one of the first to grow and bloom in the mud and soil of Flanders.

 The connection was made, most famously, by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in his poem 'In Flanders fields'. In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. Veterans Day is an official United States holiday which honors people who have served in armed service also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11th. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, with the German signing of the Armistice.) Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all of veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.[1]

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Flower.NZ Poroporo flower (Solanum laciniatum),

NZ Poroporo flower (Solanum laciniatum), NZ native plant flower

All parts are toxic due to steroidal alkaloids, glucocides and solasodine alkaloids. This shrub is potentially toxic to sheep and cattle.

Solanum laciniatum is a perennial hairless shrub to 3 m high and is a common urban weed in many parts of the country. Solanum laciniatum is indigenous to the North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. I

Solanum mauritianum (Bugweed)

Solanum mauritianum (Bugweed)  plant at arabi street

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Potato flowers.

Soliva sessilis

Onehunga Weed

Botanical name: Soliva sessilisFamily name: Asteraceae

OnehungaB1.jpg Overview

Turf weeds that put prickles in your bare feet when you walk across a lawn are never popular, especially in home lawns and recreational areas. Onehunga weed is probably one of the most hated turf weeds in New Zealand for this reason. It is an annual weed which is very small in size, usually fitting beneath the blades of the mower without barely being touched each time the lawn is mowed. It normally acts as a winter annual. This means it spends most of summer as a dormant seed in the soil. It germinates in autumn once the soil becomes moist but before the lawn recovers from summer dryness. If the lawn cover hasn't died back over summer, Onehunga weed seedlings have much more trouble establishing. Once they are established, the plants grow throughout winter then produce clusters of spined fruits near ground level (arrowed in the top picture) ready for some unsuspecting passer-by to step on them and distribute the fruits elsewhere in the lawn in their feet or jandals. Once the lawn begins to dry in summer, the plant dies, having completed its life cycle, though the spiny fruits are often left with spines sticking upwards even though the plant has died. It doesn't always grow as a winter annual though, as it can also establish in spring under some circumstances.

Onehunga weed seedling Distinguishing features

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cucurbita ficifolia, Chinese shark fin melon

Figleaf Gourd My friend gave me a Shark’s Fin Melon to cook Soup 鱼翅瓜汤, not sure what to do, I just boiled it with chicken.

 At skin so tough have to use a woodenmallet to gently tap to cut through.

Cucurbita ficifolia, also known as the seven year melon, is a type of squash ... shark fin melon (in Asia), written as 鱼翅瓜 in Mandarin; black seeded melon ...

  • Cucurbita ficifolia, also known as the seven year melon, is a type of squash grown for its edible seeds, fruit, and greens. Wikipedia
    spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo), vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, Spaghetti Marrow (in the UK) ,

  • Scientific name: Cucurbita ficifolia

    - Low in calories 
    - Expels heatiness
    - Decreases blood sugar 
  • Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Singapore Rhododendron/ Malaysian Senduduk

    Melastoma malabathricum

    TARANAKI RHODODENDRON FESTIVAL October 30 – November 2, 2009

    This plant is a plant of my youth. When I went to live in Singapore as a faculty wife in NTU, the Nanyang Technological University, we were very lucky we were given residences on campus, and NTU was located on what was once a jungle. There were still a jungle next to the campus. I has a blast from the past when I saw some of the plants I had seen and used when I was a child growing up in Borneo, especially with my Grand Dad in the village.

    This plant is called by the white man as the Singapore Rhododendron. I LOL to myself. In the mid 1950s, Dad had a scholarship to study in London, Mum took us from Sibu town to live in the village at Lanang Road. There were no dairies, 7/11 convenient shop, and no hawker to sell us tit bits. We made our own tit bits from raiding Grand Dad's pineapple garden to dipping in his soya bean paste while it was being made.

    As for this Singapore Rhododendron, my older siblings found that the black fruits of the Rhododendron was sweet. It had a funny gluey sweetness. You won't eat it today, but then, we didn't have much choice. We also peeled off the bark of the tiny twigs and ate them. The taste was a little sour. Mum didn't have to be Agatha Christie to find out we ate the fruit. You see, the dark fruits stained our lips and teeth. She would scream," You native kids, what if you kids died from the poisonous herbs? How am I going to explain to your Dad in London?"

    If you read, you will learn that it is a medicinal plant.

    Japanese anemone

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

    Flower: Calathea

    Calathea is a genus of plants belonging to the family Marantaceae. There are several dozen species in this genus. Native to the tropical Americas, many of the species are popular as pot plants due to their decorative leaves and, in some species, colorful inflorescences. They are commonly called calatheas or (like their relatives) prayer plants. There are several cultivars

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    Cherry trees,

    Cherry trees in Auckland.

    Below: a flowering cherry tree.

    sakura sakura
    no-yama mo sato mo
    mi-watasu kagiri
    kasumi ka kumo ka
    asahi ni niou
    sakura sakura
    sakura sakura
    yayoi no sora wa
    mi-watasu kagiri
    kasumi ka kumo ka
    nioi zo izuru
    iza ya iza ya
    mi ni yukan

    Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
    On Meadow-hills and mountains
    As far as you can see.
    Is it a mist, or clouds?
    Fragrant in the morning sun.
    Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
    Flowers in full bloom.
    Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
    Across the Spring sky,
    As far as you can see.
    Is it a mist, or clouds?
    Fragrant in the air.
    Come now, come,
    Let’s look, at last!