Friday, February 22, 2008

Bai Yu Lan - Magnolia

The Tiong Family loves the Bai Yu Lan. My grandfather had a plant in his garden and loved every bloom that came out. My father planted one in front of our Brooke Drive house and for years we enjoyed the lovely fragrance of the flowers.

My maternal grandmother loved to put two flowers in her hair (bun) and that would be her natural perfume.

According to a botanist friend,the sweet strong fragrance of flowers resembles juicyfruit gum. The fragrance is released in the early morning hours and lasts all day long, especially strong at night. Its name honors Florentine botanist Pietro Antonio Micheli.

If you have a very strong sense of smell, this flower is actually used to make the world's most expensive perfume'Joy'. People did not invent JOY perfume, Nature made this creation leading to the development of JOY, the most expensive perfume fragrance in the world.

The white Michelia flower is also the city flower of Shanghai, China. But vendors can be found selling them for a few yuan in the streets of Chengdu in summer. Many people are growing this flower all over Sarawak now.

Planting a Michelia tree either indoors as bonsai or in your backyard really makes your home a sweet home. Also you could take the flower, home made natural perfume, into car, office, rest room, and anywhere you want fragrant atmosphere. One oriental custom is to use the white flowers as sweet scented decoration, such as hair-pin-flower for girls, and chest-pin-flower for ladies. The tree has flowers and green leaves all year round, beautifying its surroundings. Besides, the clearly veined leaf can be made into a special bookmark.

During my childhood, I collected many of these buds and preserved them in bottles of water. They lasted a long time.

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