Sunday, March 6, 2016

Friday flowers: Lantana and memories.

The name is Lantana. originally from Mexico. In Malaysia and Singapore, the common name is Bunga Tahi Ayam or in Cantonese, KAI SEE FA, both meaning Chicken Shit Flower.

I remember this with fond memories of my flatmate of two years, G. from Penang.

One summer, her parents and sister came to visit her. The sister went to pluck this pretty flower outside the garden to put as a centre piece on the dining table. We were have a big feast cooked by Grace's mum.

Then she said," CHOW! CHOW!" meaning smelly. She had to take a shower because she felt smelly all over. Even then, she still felt smelly.

As for the bunch of flowers, needless to say, it was thrown as far as we possibly could.

And the food, we waited for the bad smell to dissipate before we ate them.

When I was living on the campus of Nanyang University, I was the secretary of the gardening club and had a online gardening journal. I wrote about why people would want to plant this KAI SEE FA. There was a bush in NTU.

In Australia, Lantana is a obnoxious weed, and there is a lot of studies devoted to this plant. 

Blackbird having Lantana camara berry for breakfast. These berries are toxic to humans and animals but not to birds. They turn deep blue or black when ripe. Green Lantana camara berries are known to have killed children and sickened adults.

The edibility of Lantana berries is contested. Some experts claim Lantana berries are edible when ripe[7][8][9] though like many fruit are mildly poisonous if eaten while still green. Other experts claim that experimental research indicates that both unripe and ripe Lantana berries are potentially lethal, despite claims by others that ripe berries are not poisonous.[10]

Now I really wonder why people plant lantanas.

1 comment:

Melbourne Australia Photos said...

Poor lantana, it has got very bad press, and justly so because the wild type is so invasive. However, there are beautiful dwarf hybrids that look so good in the garden.
Many thanks for joining Floral Friday Fotos, your contributions are always appreciated.