I remember a distinct memory from my time spent in Goa, where I was riding along on a scooter with my uncle. I saw what looked like a tree with the most remarkable flowers I'd ever laid eyes on. They looked like soft, crumpled tissue paper, ranging in hues of white, pink and deep maroon.
My uncle plucked one from the tree, and, me being the inquisitive child that I was, began asking him the expected unending stream of questions:
"What kind of a flower is it?"
"Why are they in different colours?"
"It's changing colours in my hand right now. Why?"
"Who planted this tree on the side of the road?"
"Can we have one in our yard?"
... I never did get an answer to any of these questions, just so you know.
Now, over a decade later, I found myself face to face with a picture of these flowers yet again, and the questions came flooding back without missing a beat.
So after 4 hours on Google, this is what I know about these 'magic flowers' (thats what I settled with, back then).
- Hibiscus mutabilis, also known as Cotton Rose or Confederate Rose
- Hails from China
- Tends to grow in shrub or tree forms
- They open as white or pink in colour, and change to deep red by the evening
- Cannot grow in the shade and requires moist soil (which will explain why they were so well in bloom during September, after the Indian monsoons).
Gorgeous, isn't it?
We never did get one planted in our yard. But every September following that moment, I looked forward to passing by this tree and seeing the annual bloom.
Such a spectacular show by nature!