I had mentioned sthal padma in the second part of “The Globe and the Family”. Before mentioning it I went on a google-hunt for the English name of the plant, also because I needed an image of the grand and graceful flowers. After going through a couple of pages on the same, I realized what a perspectival discovery is. I found out that its name is a definite trap. It’s called Hibiscus mutabilis and has nothing to do with Nelumbo nucifera, which, in turn, has nothing to do with one of my favourite flowers: Nymphaea sp., the flower I have loved since I saw it first at Lal Bagh Botanical Garden in Bangalore. I could not keep myself from sharing a few images of water lily with you:
Looking at the flower above, one may guess why Nymphaea nouchali is the national flower of Bangladesh, just as Lotus is the national flower of India. But they have nothing to do with our sthal padma. Its image is given below.
As far as I remember, the flower has a mild and sweet fragrance. I had seen it white and pink. I don’t remember the change in its colour from white to pink as it matures, the reason behind its name’s having the mutabilis part. It used to be the largest and most attractive flower in my grandmother’s garden: more attractive than two varieties and three colours of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers in the same garden. Now this rosa-sinensis, wikipedia tells us, was called the rose of China, although it has nothing to do with Rosaceae, as it belongs to Malvaceae. It is the national flower of Malaysia, just as rose is the national flower of England.
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