Rothmannia longilfora

Rothmannia longiflora, alias ivory trumpet

Once a year this plain shrub compensates for its agonizing dullness by turning into a loud symphony. Dozens of long-legged buds appear on each branch, soon unfolding into white trumpets with deep purple stains. When the branches can no longer sustain their load of upright flowers, they start drooping elegantly.

In two weeks’ time the music is over; the candles on the birthday cake are puffed out; the best-before date has expired; admiration is nullified.

March 2016, by Karolien Bais


Plants can be equally striking for their smell or stench, their stubbornness or benevolence, their secrecy or exuberance. Whatever their features, they can make my day.
Here are some of my doozies.

Couroupita guianensis, alias cannonball tree

Amherstia nobilis, alias Pride of Burma

Dendrobium crumenatum, alias pigeon orchid

Gloriosa superba, alias juju lily

Eucharis grandiflora, alias Amazon lily

Murraya koenigii, alias curry leaf

Scadoxus multiflorus, alias blood lily

Rothmannia longiflora, alias ivory trumpet

Furcraea selloa, alias false agave

Tacca chantrieri, alias bat flower

Bauhinia pottsii, alias orchid tree