Friday, July 10, 2009

Luyang Itim: The Wonder Years

One piece of the luyang itim ("black ginger") I'd collected awhile back has now grown into a teenage specimen. I still do not have any information about it, though. I admit that while I planted some roots in places I do not remember, I left most in some corner of the house for a long time, and they grew a bit without being in soil. I was impressed by its will to live (and a bit guilty about the neglect), and planted it in a pot a couple of weeks ago, and now it is about two and a half feet tall (including leaves).

I removed it from the pot and the roots were screaming to be transplanted. I placed it by the gabi outside my bedroom window, because it seems to do well without much sun.

I still do not have any information about it, but will probably have a better chance at identifying it (scientific name and all the uses in other cultures) when the flowers come. One detail I've gathered is that it has a maroonish stroke down the middle of the leaf. I will probably try eating it one of these days.

One potential lead I found, on a recent trip to Anilao, Batangas: there is a factory, or some walled compound, with "Luyang Itim" painted in large letters on its gate. That is probably the name of the sitio/barangay. I will be sure to stop by next time I am in town to ask the folks about it.

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