Monday, August 25, 2008

Plectranthus socotranus

The only member of Plectranthus that i knew until recently is P. amboinicus (Indian Mint, French Thyme, Soup Mint etc). This is a genus in which many species have aromatic or pungent leaves. P. socotranus is not an exception. It has very strong scented leaves and it smells like "Vicks". You don't have to bruise or crush the leaves to release the smell. A mere touch or brush against the roundish felted succulent leaves will release the scent. The scent smells like a mixture of camphor, eucalyptus and menthol and it will stay on your fingers.

The species epithlet suggests it comes from the island of Socotra off the Arabian Peninsular. The write-up from New or noteworthy species from Socotra and Abd al Kuri (Part of the Hooker's Icones Plantarum) recorded that it is found on the limestone plateau above 460m, being fairly abundant and in open patch amongst Croton thickets. Despite its hill habitat, it takes kindly to our warm lowland conditions and some exposure to tropical rain.

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