Flowers to Tickle your Bone

Ever since we’ve owned a small patch of green and been gardening, we’ve acquired some scattered knowledge of the varieties of flowers and grass that can grow in the trying soil and weather conditions of Gurgaon. Most of that knowledge has been initiated by the local maalis (gardeners) or nursaries (plant shops) and we’ve accepted all of it with gratitude. On researching at leisure, we’ve learnt some more and found really amusing parallels between the actual English names of flowers and those adopted by maalis.

To let you in on these funny revelations: A popular creeper that grows well in this region and referred to as Floro dom dom is actually a variety of Rhododendron; a hardy low height flowering plant that brings a huge respite from the summer heat is known among maalis as Photo Ilaaka and we figured its name as Portulaca; a winter flower labelled as Sukh Belium is actually Sweet William and a fragarant white cluster of Gaindi Taup is intended to be Candy Tuft !

Aren’t the invented names really innovative and funny?

An excellent online resource that has unravelled these mystery flowers to us is Flowers of India. Its interface may seem uninspiring but its database and search options are aweinspiring.

And, here’s our list of maalispeak that I’d love to have your contributions to:

Maalispeak – Common Names

Burbeena – Verbena
Gaindi Taup – Candy Tuft
Floro dom dom – Rhododendron
Photo Ilaaka – Portulaca
Punchutia – Poinsettia
Sukhbelium – Sweet William

3 thoughts on “Flowers to Tickle your Bone

  1. [this was not from a maali, but …] i vaguely remember the word ‘rifit’ or ‘ribit’ – i don’t even remember who used to use it. a few months or maybe a couple of years ago, i don’t know when or why i remembered the word, then thought that maybe the word was ‘rivet.’

    – s.b.


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