Clubs of America | Jul 29, 2015
This month’s bouquet is called a Maracas Bouquet. You will notice that the showy flower resembles the musical instrument called the Maracas. It is in the Ginger family, and its scientific name is Zingiber Zerumbet. It is also known as Awapuhi in Hawaii, Pinecone Ginger, Maracas, and Shampoo Ginger.
This ginger is thought to have originated in India and was moved eastward through Polynesia. It is possible that it was brought to the Hawaiian Islands in the voyaging canoes of early Polynesian settlers.
The Maracas Ginger is now also grown in warmer areas of Central America having tropical climates similar to the South Pacific. These flowers were grown on farms on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii.
A stunning plant, it reaches 7 foot in height, with long narrow leaves arranged oppositely on the stems. (Dwarf varieties can be 4 foot high.) In mid-summer, separate stalks grow out of the ground with green cone-shaped bracts that resemble pinecones. The green turns red over a couple of weeks, then small creamy yellow flowers appear on the cones.
The uses for this beautiful plant are many and varied. It makes an excellent fast-growing landscape plant, with beautiful cone-shaped flowers that are long-lasting both on the plant and in cut arrangements. The milky substance in the cones is used in several commercial shampoos, and has been used for hair care for centuries.
Its medicinal properties are legendary, used as medicine for sprains, indigestion, stomach pains and tooth aches. For sprains, the root was ground with a stone mortar and pestle, and the pulp placed in a cloth and loosely bound around the injured area. To ease the discomfort of a stomach ache, the ground, strained root material was mixed with water and swallowed. For a toothache or to treat a troublesome cavity, the cooked and softened root was pressed into the affected area and left for as long as needed.
Sometimes culinary ginger (known as Awapuhi Pake) is eaten or made into a tea. Ingested, it seems to provide relief for indigestion, is thought to increase blood circulation, and provides an enhanced sense of well-being. Your favorite Flower of the Month Club trusts your Maracas Bouquet will enhance your sense of well-being!
Your bouquet is made more beautiful with the addition of a stem of Song of India, some Hala leaves, a Phoenix Palm, and the always stunning leaves of the Ti plant.
SPECIAL CARE OF YOUR MARACAS BOUQUET
We recommend placing your entire bouquet in room temperature water for about 10 minutes. Then cut off the end of each stem at a 45° angle, under water, to prevent air bubbles from blocking the stem’s ability to absorb water. (Use a sharp knife to prevent stem damage.) As always, do not refrigerate.
Arrange the stems in your favorite vase any way you wish, using the enclosed greenery for accent and contrast. (Remove any foliage that falls below the water line to prevent bacterial growth and deterioration.)
Display away from direct sunlight and cold drafts, and away from sources of heat such as heat ducts. Re cut the stems and replace the water regularly, every two to three days. You may gently mist the flower heads if you wish. This care will ensure that you will enjoy many days of beauty from all the elements of this vibrant tropical bouquet.