Thursday, January 20, 2011

She's a shrimp

Almost two years ago, while looking for my way out of a huge mall in the Philippines, I heard a group of young men describe someone as a "hipon" (local word for "shrimp"). Their eyes were fixated on a young lady who was standing a few meters away. Poor girl, if only she knew that at that very moment she was being complimented and insulted at the same time.

I guess having a gorgeous body and a not-so pleasing-to-look-at face is both a blessing and a curse.

But such unpleasant description does not apply to the Pachystachys lutea, also known by its several common names of Golden Shrimp Plant, Golden Candle Plant, Yellow Shrimp Plant, Shrimp Plant and Lollipop Plant. Originally from Peru, this evergreen plant produces a  bright yellow overlapping bracts which appear year-round in its native habitat, but only during the warmer months elsewhere. The bright yellow bracts form a shape of a four-sided cone. From behind the bracts grow two-lipped white flowers

As to how it got the name "shrimp plant", it must have been due to the bracts that resemble a shrimp's overlapping scales, or it might also be because of the white flowers that look like cooked and shelled shrimps.

We have several of these Shrimps scattered in the upper garden. It's not included in my list of "must have" plants but it's one of those plants that found its way to my mother's heart and that's how it got to the garden.