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Michaelia Champaca alba

This is a discussion on Michaelia Champaca alba within the A Kodak Moment: not necessarily plants... forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; This is a flower with an intense fragrance, widely grown in India and used in ...

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  1. #1
    delilah's Avatar
    delilah is offline Senior Member
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    Default Michaelia Champaca alba

    This is a flower with an intense fragrance, widely grown in India and used in religious ceremonial services. It nearly dies back every year in our cold wet winter, and somehow resurrects itself in the summer. I live in fear of that one devastatingly cold long winter that will completely lay it low. But it's too big to bring indoors so it's going to have to take its chances.

    (You can see my cute little Indian curry leaf plant in the background of the last picture.)
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  2. #2
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    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    That is cool. We have one and we call it a Chinese good luck tree. The fragrance is amazing. It grows like mad in our greenhouse. I have to cut it back all the time. I love the fragrance. When it is blooming, you can smell it all over the yard.

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
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    catttan is offline Senior Member
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    Congrats Gita for being able to grow it in Ca. It was quite common in gardens in Malaysia but sadly not so popular nowadays. Here our locals call it either champa (because it was believed to have originated from the Kingdom of Champa, now called Cambodia) or chempaka. Not only were they used in Hindu ceremonial offerings but local women put it their hair for that wonderful fragrance. There are a few colour variations from white to orange.

    I remember that we had two huge Champa trees, one with white flowers and the other with yellow flowers, on both sides of the garden path leading to our ancestral home. In the old days locals believe that the fragrance attracted a type of banshee, locally named langsiak a female ghost with a head but without a body and with its entrails dragging behind it, while flying through the air! Needless to say, when we were children, we almost never ventured out at night near the tree. If at all we had to, then we would run as fast as we could past the tree, never once looking back because that would court disaster.Come to think of it...nobody ever saw a langsiak...because we never looked back(?).

    The Champa tree is still popular in Thailand where they have produced a dwarf vaariety.

  4. #4
    delilah's Avatar
    delilah is offline Senior Member
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    Bruce you're so lucky to have a green house big enough to grow this. If I had a huge GH I'd put this in so that it didn't have to take winter abuse. I'd throw in a chicoo sapote, a star fruit tree, a marang(depending on how big it grows)... I agree about the fragrance- on a warm evening it just fills the air with the scent of home.

    Yew, thanks for that lovely post- there are stories in India about the yakshi, which I'm sure are cousins of the langsiak. They love champaka and banyan trees. The yakshi
    is a beautiful female undead creature with long flowing black hair (long flowing entrails instead would have enhanced the scare factor greatly.) You could identify a yakshi by the fact that her feet do not touch the ground, but stay a few inches off! Oooh, just writing this stuff gives me the shivers...

    We have the orange and white varieties in my mother's garden back home. They say the orange takes longer to get blooming. Mine may be one of the dwarf varieties- it's only 8' tall with a spead of ~5' and blooms its heart out every summer. (It may also be smaller b/c the top dies off every winter from frost damage, and it makes up the height in the summer- only to grow shorter again in the winter, poor thing.)

  5. #5
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    Thanks Gita for the yakshi stories.Since we're on the supernatural the Thai have their own version of the langsiak and it's similar to our Malaysian one too.

  6. #6
    delilah's Avatar
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    Someone should compile a collection of spirits from various lands that love fragrant flora


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