Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Periwinkle and Grandpa
My trip in July to Sarawak, my place of birth brought me to my roots. It was the periwinkle aka Catharanthus roseus flower that brought me a mixed emotion. My grand dad grew a lot of them and we were told never ever pick them. To put his point across, Grand dad picked one flower and let it bleed with white milky sap. He said it was poisonous.
It was when I was adult living in Singapore when I was excited about growing them. It reminded me of my time in grand dad's garden. As the secretary of the Gardening Club I didn't want to be responsible for growing a plant that could hurt children of the neighbourhood. A professor of Science gave me some literature to read. Periwinkle can be dangerous if consumed orally. It can be extremely toxic. So I put up signs at my plants to educate the grown ups not to let children pick my flowers.
On the other hand, I read in Canada, they were using this flower to treat cancer patients. It's like the Chinese saying, using poison to kill another poison. Still, I am cautious and would not suggest anyone to pick the lovely flower.