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.