It was last seen in 1980, and now a horticultural expert has again grown the Nolina flower that resembles an elephant’s foot in his garden in Rhenock, East Sikkim
After 30 years, Nolina flowers have bloomed in the Evergreen Nursery, Rhenock, East Sikkim!
Ganesh Pradhan, Sikkim State Awardee and founder of the famed Ram Gauri Sangralaya and Evergreen Nursery from Rhenock called me up last week and very excitedly said: “My Nolina plant has flowered.”
I could feel his joy that could be compared to the birth of a child. Over the years, Ganesh Aja (my relationship with him) had always shared his happiness with me and when he talked about the flowering of a plant, I too felt there was something special.
He had earlier told me about this species flowers over the last thirty years.
He had never seen or heard this flower bloom in any part of Sikkim till now.
To me, this flower sounded exceptional and I too felt it should be documented.
I don’t deny the fact that this plant might have flowered in Sikkim but documentation is important, so my interest grew on it.
Native of Mexico, this plant is one of the most popular ornamental species.
The Nolina plant has some peculiar features – swollen trunk that looks like an elephant’s foot, single slender palm like stem with hair, like strap-shaped leathery leaves, resembling a ponytail on its top.
These plants are slow grower and adaptable to dry land.
Male and female flowers can be identified by their ivory and pink colours respectively.
For a few days, I was regularly in touch with Aja, asking him about the plant and its flower.
Aja further went on to say: “When I first saw its yellow (it is more correctly ivory colour) panicle flowers in the early morning, I hurriedly called upon my wife and my sons. We saw the flower of Nolina for the very first time. Those flowers stayed for two weeks and later dried up”
He told me that around 1980, he had seen Nolina plant at the Chandra Nursery, the iconic nursery of Rhenock, for the very first time.
Interested in plants and fascinated by its unfamiliar appearance, he bought four Nolina plants from Chandra Nursery.
Those plants were then two and half year old. Among the four, only two Nolina plants had survived over the years.
The older of the two has a trunk of 12 feet, but strangely, it had not flowered.
The flowering of this plant after thirty years gave me and my family an emotional happiness that cannot be explained.
Aja further went on to say:”When I first saw its yellow (it is more correctly ivory colour) panicle flowers in the early morning, I hurriedly called upon my wife and my sons.
“We saw the flower of Nolina for the very first time. Those flowers stayed for two weeks and later dried up.
“Today, I have sixteen Nolina plants in my nursery. One of them has decayed at its trunk and I have experimented in saving it through the bonsai system,” he explained.
As I am writing this article, Rhenock is facing a grave crisis of corona pandemic, and yet, this plant-man from Rhenock is busy nurturing his plants.
Who knows which plant will surprise him the next!
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The author is currently a school teacher by profession, though he started off as a journalist. He is a well-known blogger on Sikkim since 2007. He enjoys photography, collecting autographs, stamps, coins, banknotes, and even matchboxes! He plans to set up a museum in his hometown, Singtam, Sikkim, to display his passion https://sikhim.blogspot.com