You know how sometimes you suddenly come across something which knocks you off your feet and leaves your jaw scraping the floor? I had one of those moments recently when I was idly browsing through Flickr.
I finally found an ID for a wild plant with pretty little white flowers which shows up in my garden every monsoon. I had very fancifully named it Peace Bells in my mind since I had no idea what it was.
Peace Bells? Ha! nothing peaceful about these little plants.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is Safed Musli, valued as one of the most potent aphrodisiacs from the plant world.
Now do you see why I'm feeling a little dazed? It's almost like finding out that the nice, sweet little girl that you went to school with is now a centrefold model in the more volatile type of magazines!
With the ID I found, I kept searching for more information until I realised that more than one plant from the genus Chlorophytum is commonly referred to and used as safed musli since they all share the same medicinal properties. And my Chlorophytum breviscapum is one of them.
Yes, the same family as our humble Spider Plant but, no, Chlorophytum comosum is not in that elite list.
It is a ground-hugging plant which appears all over my garden after the first rain of the monsoon season. Very soon it sends out stalks of pretty little white flowers . Even its seed-pods are eye-catching! I find their unusual tri-coned shape fascinating.
Did I mention that its white tuberous roots have aphrodisiacal properties according to Ayurvedic medicine? Apparently that's not all that it has. I read that it is supposed to be anti-ageing too. And great for building up immunity levels.
And the funniest, most ironical part of all? Years ago, while talking idly of the commercial possibilities of my gardening hobby, I was advised to grow safed musli as that was considered the most profitable crop to grow.
And I just laughed it off.
After all, I had no idea how to grow it or even where on earth I would get the planting material!