This week I had a choice between two flowers to write about. When googling each of them, I discovered that the common name of one is based on the fact its flowers look like a certain fruit; the other is known as a cock’s comb. Needless to say, if for some reason you’re thinking, “what fruit?” you’re going to have to wait until next week.
Before all the kinky grooming fanatics out there get their heads in a spin, I hasten to clarify that the plant is in fact so-named because of its resemblance to a cockerel’s crown (or ‘comb’). These blooms are safe to appear in bouquets aimed at all ages, folks. So-named then, because when it does flower, it does so with hot, flaming plumes of red, orange or pink. Actually, when the flowers are clustered together they take on an appearance cooler than a cockerel head: viewed from above they give the appearance of a swirling, luminous human brain.
Though native to Africa (Somewhat mysteriously, Wikipedia says this is ‘a claim not without dispute’, without elaborating any further), it’s known primarily as a foodstuff in Indonesia and India. In fact for those whose concern is more with viable food than attractive flowers, it has been hailed as the often-wished-for vegetable that grows like a weed and needs hardly any of the tender-loving care that most other vegetables seem to need. Again, Wikipedia are weirdly vague when it comes to this nugget of information, attributing it to ‘Martin Price of Florida.’ Who?
Back to the actual flowers though and according to those who bother to come up with such things, these blooms are supposed to represent affection (what posies don’t?) and silliness. Can’t fault them on that last one. Did you ever hear of anything sillier than a comb for a co-