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Plants in our sales nursery – Hiptage benghalensis, for shape and fragrance

June 8, 2010

Hiptage benghalensis (Malpighiaceae) is a lovely garden ornamental, as it provides peculiar but beautiful flowers, with a strong fragrance reminding of wild strawberries. The blossom is usually massive, and taking a day off to just sit under a large bush drinking coffee and reading a book could be the highlight of an otherwise stressful year. In fact, a very nice stress-relief is to sit on a chair and watch the flowers grow. Everything is amazingly slow, making you feel very much alive that moment, erasing the eerie feeling that life passes too quickly.

Hiptage benghalensis is usually in blossom twice in the late cool season, and then it forms a quite anonymous but decent foliage. The leaves can be used as a fodder, or as a home-made insecticide. It grows into a bush or small tree (ssp. candicans). One subspecies (ssp. benghalensis) forms very long shoots, making them suitable as climbers. The plant is native to Lanna (northern Thailand), and ssp. candicans is currently available in our sales nursery. Hiptage is derived from the Greek word “Hiptamai”, which means “to fly”. The name refers to the winged fruits, which are formed in abundance after blossom.

Eric Danell

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