Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dumb Cane

In South East Asia, we have a plant called Dumb Cane, dieffenbachia. The Chinese call it WAN NIEN CHING, translated to ten thousand years green. This is an auspicious plant as it's name refers, it is for ever green, and never dies. Business like to grow them in their office. Some are just green, others green with white spots, and others are pale green.

I used the grow them in Singapore. They are easy to grow, and I present this to friends who are new to tropical plants. Dumb canes are so hardy that they simply would not die. The sap makes one very itchy, and parents warn children not to put them in their mouth, the mouth will glue together and they become dumb. The cells of the Dieffenbachia plant contain needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals called raphides. If a leaf is chewed, these crystals can cause a temporary burning sensation and erythema.

Once I was chatting away with my girl friend B while we were tidying our plants. She pulled of the semi dead leaves of her Dumb cane, and in no time, she was scratching away. I cut a leaf of my aloe vera, and it was a soothing balm for her.

I have to confess that this is a fake plant. I should have many pix of this plant, but I can't find i, it is most probable in my other computer where Sam and his friends are using. I can't pretend this is the real McCoy because it looks so fake. This plant is not found in New Zealand except as a fake plant.

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