13 November 2012


One of my favourite plants is the Asclepias curassavica (Common Name: Blood Flower; Family: Apocynaceae) because of its beautiful small red flowers but I don't like it a bit that the plant tends to be short-lived, loses its vigour and dies-back over time. The only way to have this shrub growing in the garden permanently is to keep germinating the seeds to get a batch of fresh new plants.

Having said that, I am thrilled that this plant is also one of the host plants of the very beautiful Plain Tiger butterfly found locally. Thankfully, with the knowledge and experience gained since the days of HortPark, I have been able to sustain a population of this butterfly species at Bay East and Bay South now with the planting of the other more reliable host plant Calotropis gigantea (Common Name: Crown Flower). I hope more people would learn to appreciate the beauty of its caterpillars in order to fully appreciate the true beauty of its adult butterfly.

On a separate note, the Calliandra genus has a range of beautiful shrubs or treelets because of its free-flowering nature and showy inflorescences. What is interesting though, is the attractive part of the umbel inflorescence is the collective group of lengthy coloured stamens, as shown in the photos here. The small anthers are visible on the ends of the filaments. The corolla, or the ring of fused petals, right at the base of the stamens can be seen in the last photo.