Leaf of the Day: Shampoo Ginger and a Hill

This will be a brief post today. We have decided to go away for a couple of days to the coast, so a quick(ish) drawing of the inflorescence of the Shampoo Ginger Zingiber zerumbet which grows just outside the apartment here.

The flower cone sits on top of a long stem, this one is about 2ft. The little cream flowers grow from in between the “scales” or bracts of the cone. As I was drawing it, some drops of liquid appeared ..so I have drawn one of them. This may be the shampoo. I have yet to try it, but it is true that if you squeeze the cone gently you will be rewarded with a liquid which was used by the Polynesians for bathing both skin and hair. I can’t imagine anything nicer than a natural, ginger scented face wash. This then, and the soapberry are two handy additions to the bath and laundry departments.
In my case a few ants appeared too, which I didn’t think would add very much to the drawing today so I took them outside. Ants seem to cover most the blossoms of the gingers. I have had to shake some of them vigorously to get an ant free photo. Gingers are another example of ant friendly plants, offering nectar and shelter in the bracts in exchange for protection against malign insects.
At the moment this cone is green but, as the flowering phase begins to finish, it will turn red. I will probably return to it then for a colour sketch.

So I will not be posting any drawings until next week now unless torrential rain and the odd hurricane sweep the Gulf coast. We are going to Tarpon Springs a small Greek community north of Tampa, (I am so looking forward to some Greek food!) Here they used to dive for sponges and I am told there is still a small sponge industry.
We will go via Bok Tower gardens which will be a real treat! There we will see the beautiful gardens, the wonderful Gothic /Deco “singing tower” with a 60 bell carillon, and … a hill!

The view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain Florida

Sugar Loaf Mountain nearby rises to a magnificent 312 ft above sea level. The second highest spot in Florida. My information is from a necessarily brief web page entitled “General Florida Climbing Information” here . I am looking forward to the view.

Shampoo Ginger Cone.