Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Yu Lan Hua - Magnolia flower

Botanical name: Michelia alba DC.
Common names: Champacany-puti,White michelia,White champaka
Family: Magnoliaceae

Yu Lan Hua is a humble looking flower which can release powerful fragrance. Yu Lan tree thrives in sub-tropical climates, common in Guang Dong, Yunnan and parts of India. When I was a little kid, I often saw ladies/girls selling Yu Lan flowers in a little basket at street corners after dark, they often had a couple flowers slipped behind their ears or clipped among hairs. Cultural revolution abolished anything luxury, perfume was definitely a no no. Yu lan flower became a substitute of perfume, its fragrance is attractive and refreshing. Politic can dampen human spirit, but spirit will survive and revive then thrive!

Some times I wonder if technology was invented to complicate human life in some aspects. It's natural, organic and easy to put a couple of Yu Lan flowers in hair as it's decorative and smells attractive. Instead we go through a massive process to extract essential oils from tons flowers to produce small amount of perfume, tons money to package, then cost even more to market the product, test with animals, excessive insurance coverage to cover unnecessarily law suits, medical bills for allergy, etc.. I wonder.... I just wonder... It must be financial driven, job creation, blah blah blah.

Yu Lan trees can be as tall as 6 to 8 meters. Pictured is a young tree.


Imen said...

Thanks Sina

Dr.J.G., M.D., Y.B. said...

Quite true, about it being natural to wear flowers in hair. But Nordic latitudes grow nothing for much of the year, so flowers in vases were as prized as perfumes were both necessary and useful - since before central heating, bathing was a luxury only for wealthy - and thus the practices from dried flowers to perfumes and more.