Friday, May 27, 2011

A Beautiful Stairway to Heaven

In my last trip to Calle Ruega, I spotted this plant growing along the path to the main chapel. It is ironically given the name 'stairway to heaven'. Well, it was appropriately positioned lining the walkway going to the romantic chapel where almost every bride nowadays would want to be wed. I wonder if the gardener who planted this knew that it is so called.

The stairway-to-heaven, I was told, is actually a Philippine native plant called Freycinetia multiflora. It is a member of the pandan family. Freycinetias are collectively called climbing pandans because of their growth behavior, anchoring themselves on a tree or branch to reach higher ground and sunlight. Pandans are also known as screw pines as most have spiral leaf arrangement. This is also probably why they called F. multiflora 'stairway-to-heaven' because they resemble small spiral staircases.

F. multiflora is becoming a fixture in most home gardens. It is already popular as a collection ornamental plant. It still has to be promoted more be mainstreamed as a landscape material.

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