THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There is a flower that is creamy yellow in shade and which blooms unobtrusively, invisible to the naked eye. To catch it blooming, you need a microscope. To the naked eye, wolffia globosa appears as tiny granules. The aquatic plant is the smallest flowering plant and it doesn’t have roots. It floats on or just below the surface of the water. The aquatic plant was one among the many intriguing sights at the ongoing flower fest, ‘Vasantholsavam’, at the Kanakakunnu Palace ground.
The city was draped in a riot of colours as the flower carnival began with a show of a variety of ornamental, medicinal, aquatic plants and herbs. Beckoning one inside is a traditional house oozing an old-world charm. A tulasi thara (the sacred structure where the tulsi plant is grown) invites one into the thatched house, the floor of which is plastered with cow dung cake. A ranthal (traditional lantern) remains suspended from the ceiling.
Several varieties of medicinal plants dot the front yard. Everything here is a call-out to the past. It has been envisioned to underline the importance of the age-old system of living in one with nature. The traditional house along with with the range of medicinal plants is the handiwork of the pharmacognosy unit of the Government Ayurveda College.
“In the olden days, our homes were treasure troves of medicinal plants which would grow in abandon. If one caught a disease, the cure was right in front of your yard. But things have changed now, and people pop pills for even the smallest illnesses,” says Aravindan B, an employee of the Government Ayurveda College.
Different planting methods such as vertical gardening, terrariums and kokedama figure among the exhibits. A grand house in rich hues of red, white, pink and yellow makes for a resplendent sight, with the house being made of roses and other flowers. The air is permeated with the rich aroma of the roses if one were to walk by. The nine-day festival is organised by the Tourism Department.
Various governmental organisations such as the Secretariat, Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), Kerala Agriculture University, Museum-Zoo, Agriculture College, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Malabar Botanical Garden, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Botany Department of Kerala University and Ayurveda Research Institute, among others, have laid a gloriously rich flower carpet at the palace grounds. Along with the floral grandeur, crafts and tribal cuisine are also on offer. Tuck into the tribal delicacies at the Thanima stall put up at the fag end of the exhibits. You also get to taste the ‘Marunnu Kappi’ (medicinal coffee) which is made of over 10 herbs and medicinal plant varieties.