Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rose Moss (Portulaca grandiflora)

Last week found me walking around U.P. (University of the Philippines) for the first time, and I was taken aback by the abundant and beautiful selection of flora in the campus. I found a gorgeous low-growing plant with a few flowers among it, which I wanted to grow. A nearby security guard was kind enough to give me some cuttings, without any flowers, to take home with me.

On the way home examining it, I found that its stems smelled so good! I almost wanted to take a bite out of them. I've run out of pots at home, and since I haven't exactly settled yet with my parents where exactly my territory lies in the garden, I planted them in the only available container left, a hanging pot.

Two days later, at around noon, I noticed that the bunch did have flowers. Well, it bloomed one! A beautiful shade of reddish pink petals with yellow stamens in the center. Later in the afternoon that same day, I was walking around the garden looking at my growing plants again (I do this like I sort of expect them to grow right before my eyes! I get sort of anxious waiting haha), I noticed that it the same flower had closed!

Apparently this herb-y smelling flower, is, a flowering herb. It's considered an herb because of its soft bodies and they do not develop woody tissues. And, I always wanted one of those flowers that close at certain times of the day, and without knowing it I even got me one! And what are the coincidences of planting them in the only pot left at home, a hanging pot, because it's one of the showier plants that are usually used for landscaping gardens (as borders, ground covers, etc...) and because they self-seed during warm climates and may be considered invasive, are perfect as hanging plants.

Originating from Brazil, the Rose Moss, also known as Vietnam Rose, closes in the afternoon and reopens in the morning. The photo below was taken at around 6:30 a.m.

It requires little maintenance to grow, especially in the Philippines, as they thrive in hot and dry conditions which would otherwise cause other flowers to wilt. Their fleshy stems store the moisture that allow them to bloom in these conditions. They need good drainage so growing them in sandy or loamy soils is a good choice, and allow the soil to dry in between waterings.
The entire plant may be used as a depurative, and the juice of the leaves can be applied to soothe snake and insect bites.

The flowers can come in single or double, and in a variety of colors.
The photo above was taken at around 11:30 am. Gorgeous, ain't it? :)

No comments: