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Plants in our sales nursery – Mimusops elengi

June 22, 2010

Yesterday we had a most welcome thunderstorm. We got 23 mm of rain, so the garden is now growing at an immense speed, getting greener for every minute. The night before we had 13mm, so 36 mm, which equals three and a half watering can (36 litres) per square meter, is a good start. We began planting plants immediately in the morning. The only problem was that the lightning ruined a modem, which is why we were off-line for nearly 36 hours.

One plant commonly seen at temples in Chiang Mai here in northern Thailand is ‘Spanish Cherry’, or Mimusops elengi (Sapotaceae). Although the fruits are edible, they are not very tasty. People plant the tree because it has a noble appearance: evergreen with a naturally elegant and tidy grown. The leaves resemble those of a benjamin fig (Ficus benjamina, Moraceae), although the leaf of M. elengi has more undulating leaf margins. The flowers are very different, and they omit an agreeable fragrance that stays even when the flowers are dried. They are therefore used in bridal pillows in its homeland India. In fact, you can find this species from India all the way to tropical Australia. Since we like this tree very much, we keep it for sale at a low price.

Eric Danell

The shy, nodding, white and brown flower is typical of Sapotaceae.

Here Mimusops elengi is in blossom at Dokmai Garden.

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