Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

6 November 2008

Passion Flower

I stumbled upon this Passion Flower or Passiflora growing wild in Naldehra. It has also been spotted in Koti and Mashobra. It was so symmetrical and so delicately tones that at first I took it to be artificial. Closer inspection, of course, told me otherwise. It was seen growing on vines up to 30 feet in height.
Here are the botanic/scientific details before I go on to some interesting details heard locally about this flower.
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Sub-class: Rosidae
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Passifloraceae
Genus: Passiflora.

Padre Jonas tells me that the "passion" in Passion Flower refers not to the romantic aspect, but to the passion of Lord Jesus Christ. I noted down Padre's interpretation and found it backed up by Wikipedia, no less! According to the good Padre:
  • The 10 petals represent the 10 Apostles, excluding St. Peter & Judas;
  • The ovary, in its chalice shape, representsdenote the Holy Grail;
  • The filaments (see the blue radial pointy things in picture above) represent the Crown of Thorns;
  • The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance;
  • The 3 stigmata denote 3 nails and 5 anthers, the 5 wounds suffered by Lord Jesus.
A local said it reminded him of a clock and, fair enough, I found that in various countries this plant is also known as "clock flower" or "clock plant".
B. says that the Passion Flower is grown as a medicinal herb and its leaves and the roots are often rather potent and are consequently used by villagers as mind-altering drugs. Once dried, the leaves can also be smoked. This herb is used in homoeopathic medicine for treating bronchial asthma, insomnia and anxiety.

1 comment:

mangotra said...

Yah, I remember we used to tie these flowers around out wrists as these looked just like wrist watches, what with all the hours and minutes hands !
For those who like to learn more about the Flora of Simla, read Flora Simlemsis by Col Collett. An original 1925 print was available with the Ridge library but is missing since they moved their collection.
Reprints are available with Natraj Publishers of Dehra Dun and sometimes, a copy surfaces in Minerva Book Depot also.

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