"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Leaf of the Day: Moujean Tea, Tea and Butterflies

I went to the garden today and cycled along the beautiful lakeside roads with some autumn colour here and there and the lakes waters still and placid. Despite the dull and chilly weather, today is a very good day. It is also bonfire night in the UK when we would have been eating parkin, toffee apples and baked potatoes, if we could ever get the bonfire hot enough for long enough. Sparklers would be sparkling with the occasional hot spark landing on bare flesh and unruly Catherine wheels detaching themselves from wooden posts to tear around the garden.
I should really have drawn the Firecracker plant but today I was walking through the herb garden and decided at last to get round to drawing the very beautiful little herb, Moujean Tea Nashia inaguensis. This little bush is so delightful. It has dainty little scented leaves, not more than 1/2 inch long, and tiny flowers. ..and of course you can make tea from it.


It originated on the rocky outcrops of the Caribbean islands, in particular from its namesake island, Inagua in the Bahamas.
It likes a sunny, well drained but well watered position. This shrub has small, scented leaves and they say the leaves have a vanilla or Earl Grey Tea taste when made into tea. I am chewing a leaf as I write this, and trying to decide how I would describe it. The leaves are very hard and rough, definitely slightly bitter and aromatic but very pleasant. The flowers with a sweet and spicy scent are followed by equally tiny orange fruits which can be used in the tea too. Bees love this plant and it attracts the beautiful previously endangered butterfly the Atala butterfly, Eumaeus atala.


Image and info from University of Florida here

This lovely thing needed the coontie plant to thrive, so the recent reintroduction of the coontie for landscaping has helped its re-generation. It is very beautiful, a basic black and orange with highlights of metallic greens and iridescent blues.
That is the very pretty and useful Moujean tea for you. It also makes a lovely bonsai because of its tiny proportions and if you have a scent or herb garden, this would be a must here in Florida, tea and butterflies.. a very pleasing combination.

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Moujean Tea




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