Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy New Year!

Ochna is a genus comprising 86 species of evergreen trees, shrubs and shrublets belonging to the family Ochnaceae. The most celebrated flower in Vietnam, the spectacular yellow flowers of the Ochna Integerrima make it very popular in South Vietnam, where the cut flower branches are purchased during Tết, the traditional Vietnamese New Year when this species blooms profusely. For some reason I never understand, these plants flower much better and easier when grown in pots. They are deciduous and mine is full of flowers today as new leaves are beginning to sprout. It's the first day of the new year of the Mouse. Happy New Year!

Another species, Ochna Serrulata is widely known as the "Mickey Mouse" plant because after the petals fall, black berries form that look just like the ears of the famous Disney character. The Mickey Mouse variety is very appropriate for this new lunar calendar year of the Mouse (see its calligraphy on the lower petal of the flower.) Ochna Serrulate is much easier to grow in Miami and they propagate freely when the berries are scattered around. The same is not true for the more difficult to find and to grow Ochna Integerrima.

Happy New Year

3 comments:

SongLinh said...

One of my favorite flowers! Lucky you to be able to grow it in a warm climate like Miami!

Eh-may said...

Where would you buy this flower in Miami. I lived in Missouri, and i'm wondering where or what store in miami would sell this.

Lan Nghiem-Phu said...

It's not easy to find this plant in Miami, but you can get it on the web from http://www.toptropicals.com/
The name is Ochna integerrima. Their web has errors. This species has no black seeds. The serrulata does.