BENGALURU: Bengaluru has seen two rare blooms the last few days and if you are lucky you can still catch one of them at the nursery at the Indian Institute of Science.
The two species bloom once a year -- a Bromeliad, the Billbergia Porteana, in IISc campus and Brahma Kamal in various private gardens.
The Billbergia blooms stay for three to four days but the Brahma Kamal or Queen of the Night, the state flower of Uttarakhand, opens only for a few hours and in the night time.
Sridhar, the horticulturist at IISc, says, “We have been having the Billbergia for the past 30 years. We have about 15 to 20 of its plants, but in the rest of the city it is almost never seen... people prefer plants that flower regularly, and these hardy plants only give out blooms once a year. Nobody comes asking for them also.” The nursery sees regular visitors interested in the plants in keen on collecting seeds from here.
These plants require little by maintenance. “They are desert plants and does not need much care,” says Sridhar. “We water them regularly but they will survive even if you do only once in a while. They have shallow roots and absorb water from the atmosphere.” They are generally believed to be good-natured, growing from any perch. They grow by rocks and on stumps, and droop down from trees. It has a spectacular inflorescence that lasts only a short while.
Brahma Kamal is more exotic with a religious backstory. Pandavas’ wife Draupadi is believed to have been enchanted by its flowers and is said to have sent Bhima on a quest to find it. Seeing it bloom is said to bring good luck and people even make a wish on it.
Their large, white and fragrant flowers are believed to guide pollinators to them in the night.
(With Inputs from Sharath Ahuja)