Saturday, 14 March 2009

A fragrant bloom called bread flower

In my garden there is this vine-like shrub which I planted more than five years ago. It was given to me by my cousin who told me that the plant's flowers are very sweet-smelling. She mentioned the name of the plant but it was too odd-sounding for it to be registered in my memory at that time.

Throughout the years, the shrub grew healthily with the vines spreading long and wide, to the extent that trimming need to be done. But it never bloomed... until a few weeks ago, that is. The plant has produced bunches of small white flowers that emit a fragrant smell. If I were to hazard a guess, I put the cause of the blooming to the very hot and dry weather spell that Johor Bahru experienced at the beginning of the year.

The Malay name for this flower is bunga sikudangan, at least that's what it is called in Johor. I have just learnt that is called by other names in other parts of Malaysia : bunga kesidang, bunga kerak nasi and bunga tikam seladang, among others. For the fancy and peculiar names it has in Malay, the English name is a plain-sounding `bread flower'. Scientifically it is known as vallaris glabra.

A single flower is only about 15mm wide and is made up of five petals. For such a small flower, the scent it releases is quite intense.... very close to that of pandan leaves. As such, it makes a perfect complement in bunga rampai, the shredded pandan potpourri normally found at Malay weddings.

I picked some of the flowers early this morning and placed them in a small ceramic basket (actually a bekas bunga telur) to create a mini bouquet. It is placed next to my work desk at home and I'm enjoying the aroma as I type this post.

Hmmm... sure smells nice.


JUJUL said...

oo..jue belum pernah jumpa lah bunga nie..nice..mesti harumkan bau dia like bunga kenanga n melur

hanitha said...

wah...lima thn tanam, bru skrg nk brbunga? mmg begitu ke kitaran hidup pokok tu?
nama nya tk familiar langsung...

Emila Yusof said...

i loooove this flower! also have it in my garden! memang wangi macam daun pandan! I did a drawing of it but tak tau nama bunga ni masa tu so I named it Belle hehehe.

A commenter told me later it's bunga kesidang.

Here's my drawing link:

HLiza said...

Bunga kesidang ni bunga negeri Melaka kalau tak silap..selalu nampak tapi tak tau namanye.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Fadhil,
I got here through Kak Teh's blog.

Just a quick question, this bread flower plant featured in this post, is it a tall climbing plant with sinewy stems?

I have a plant climbing on my pergola which was planted by the previous owner.

Recently (yes, after the rain and the sun and the rain again), it bore flowers for the first time and these flowers smelt suspiciously like pandan.

Initially, I assumed this plant was an offshot of the jasmine family. But now that you have mentioned it, I have a nagging suspicion that it may be bread flower after all.

Thanks for the heads-up.

Oldstock said...


Memang harum baunya bunga ni. I rasa bau bunga melur pun kalah. I pun dulu tak tahu namanya. My mom yang cakap, bunga sikudangan. Pastu I buat google search. Baru tahu ada beberapa nama yang lain.

Oldstock said...


Masa mula tanam tu, baru tinggi sekaki dua je. Lepas tu menjalar.

Dulu ada gak berbunga tapi seputik dua je... dan tak berbau sangat.

Sekarang ni baru berbunga lebat.

Oldstock said...


I pun pada mulanya tak tahu nama pokok ni.... jenis main tanam je, tak pernah nak tahu nama, heheheh. And I agree, we shall call it belle flower rather than bread flower, amacam?

Yes, I noticed on your flash blog header you have a drawing of this flower. Love your drawings. Maybe one day I commission you to draw one for me :-)

Oldstock said...


Yes, you're right! I checked the Melaka state govt official website and it has an article on this same flower. Just google `Bunga negeri Melaka'.

I wonder if the people of Melaka know that this is their state flower.

Oldstock said...

Hi Andrea,

Firstly, welcome to this blog.

From your description, I believe the plant you have is the bread flower. The pandan-like smell confirms it. I have a jasmine plant too, but the smell is slightly different.

A pergola is a perfect place for it. I don't have one but I erected a simple frame around it for the branches to creep around.

Do drop by again soon.