Can you tell the name of this flower?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yes, can you please tell me the English or botanical name of this flower? Apparently this flower is quite popular among the Tibetans. Its Tibetan name is Dolma Metok (སྒྲོལ་མ་མེ་ཏོག༑).

I like how these flowers are planted in used paper packets and old rusty tins. This white Dolma Metok is planted in a Amul milk packet. Amul dairy products are a favorite of exile Tibetans. [Amul, by the way, has an interesting story behind its inception as a farmers' cooperative society in the Indian state of Gujarat.] This photo was taken at Mussoorie's Tibetan temple and these flowers belong to an older monk, whose name I don't know. Tibetans are quite ingenious about their flower pots. My mother has a couple of begonia (Chuzin Metok) plants in broken thermos cases. My friend Tsering Chophel, in Clementown Dhondupling Settlement, has, for example, cut empty plastic jars into halves and made two flower pots, one with the lid on, of each plastic jar!

Gen Tamding-la, of Tibetan Homes School, told me how they used to take care of Dolma Metok. Apparently this is a perennial flower. Winters in Tibet are cold, so they keep the flowers indoor during night and they take it outside in the morning when the sun rises. Dolma metok is a special "ornament" of Losar (Tibetan new year) decoration. Interestingly, the white flowers have a nice subtle scent, which the red ones don't seem to have. Dolma metok also comes in yellow and other colours.

Here (above) is a close-up photo of Dolma Metok. Even the red ones on the back is Dolma Metok.

The older lama's flower collection overlooking the Himalayas. He has many kinds of geranium (Trung Trung Metok) and marigolds (Serchen Metok).

This (above) daisy-like flower is actually chrysanthemum. Now, there are many Tibetan names for chrysanthemum such as Khenpa (འཁན་པ་), Lugmig (ལུག་མིག་) and Drangsong (དྲང་སྲོང་). Khenpa is the most commonly used name. Lugmig is the name used in Tibetan medicine, I think, so I should consult an expert on Tibetan medicinal plant names about this. And Drangsong, which means old sage or ascetic in Tibetan, is a specific kind of chrysanthemum. Drangsong metoks have fluffier blossoms with longer petals, see below.

If you wish to learn Tibetan flower names, see this post. I would love to hear from readers about flower names. Please share.


Dadon said...

Genla, I think it is called "Impatiens". Every year, we plant a mixture of colors in our small garden. I love their vibrant color.

D aka Zorgay

The Tibetan Plateau Blog said...

Hi Dadon, thanks! Speaking of impatiens, I remember reading on Bhuchung-la's blog about the discovery of a new species of impatiens in the Yarlung Tsangpo gorges of Pema Koe area. Flowers flowers like this, although not as exquisitee, grow on the hillside down from Charlieville to Happy Valley in Mussoorie, called the Himalayan balsam. You must have seen this, have you? I liked to play with the seed pods, how these burst upon a mere touch. Apparently that's why these are also called Touch-me-nots. Makes sense, doesn't it? How I wish there were a similarly unique name for Dolma metok!

Anonymous said...

One of the most beautiful flower gardens is the one in Lhadakh at the modest Phodang that the Tibetans in Ladakh built for His Holiness. The Phodang grounds are surrounded by beautiful flowers and every day, you'll see elders from the neighboring tibetan camps bringing their flowers to plant in the palace garden, watering, weeding and making their koras. Gen Tenzingla, who is charge of the Phodang says that nobody tells them to plant this or that - the garden just grows organically with the heart and effort of the local elders and flower lovers - sometimes its all pink flowers - othertimes its all yellow flowers. But I thought it was most beautiful. And every day you see new flowers coming up. When I visited the palace grounds, there were two old tibetan ladies, watering and tending the flowers - their faces happy, radiant and content. They were lost in their happiness in making a beautiful offering of flowers for Gyalwa Rinpoche.

The Tibetan Plateau Blog said...

Dear anonymous commenter, thanks for sharing this. I would love to visit the Phodang garden and to meet the elders who bring flowers for Gyalwa Rinpoche. In fact I will visit there on my next trip to Ladakh. Thanks again, and best wishes!

Harangad Singh said...

the picture which you posted by the the name of 'dolma metok ' is called Stock in english. the scientific name of the plant is 'Mathiola Incana'.

The Tibetan Plateau Blog said...

Dear Harangad Singh,

Finally! I have waited for this name to appear on my blog for what seems like years. Thank you. 'Stock' is an odd name for a flower, it makes me think of money, supplies and shares. Its scientific name is much nicer, Mathiola Incana, isn't it?

Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

hey someone help me plz ? have u ever heard about tibetan flower of Ninj?(is ninj a flower name?)

The Tibetan Plateau Blog said...

Hello, I have not heard of such a flower name. In fact I cannot make sense of the spelling "Ninj". Try spelling it in Wylie, and then we should be able to find out.