A Rare Flower in Yunnan

- Golden Lotus Banana (Musella lasiocarpa (Fr.)C.Y. Wu ex H.W.Li)

Golden Lotus Banana

There is a rare flower in Mid-Yunnan,
It is no more than a few feet in height;
Its green leaves look like those of plantains,
And its stalks can grow lotus flowers.

Golden lotus bananas has another name "lotus of 1000 pedals"; it is a vivacious herbal plant of the plantain family; it originates in Yunnan, and it also scatters in Sichuan province of China. It is a peculiar flower of China. Golden lotus banana grows in clusters; the plant is short and small, and is generally less than 1 meter in height. In its aboveground parts, the leave sheathes, overlap with one another and dispose in volute forms. Its leaves are dark green in color, and oblate in shape; the top the leave is pointed, and looks like the leaves of plantains. Its leaves can grow as long as 50 cm, with a width of 20 cm. The plant has a longer blossoming period, and the period can be as long as 250 days. The six flower sheaths of the plant form a wheel, which grow on the top or in the armpit of the plant, like pedals in golden shining. The flowers spread out from bottom to top, and can keep unsapless for quite a long time. The flower sheaths are bright and beautiful, just like pieces of lotus flowers in full blossom. The real flowers of the plant are sweet, tender and small; the flowers are yellow alternates with green in color and they pack in the buds; and the flowers only stick out after the buds burst open. Since its false stalks are short and thick, the plant grows flowers first and leaves later. It gives people the impression of growing out of ground suddenly in early spring; therefore, it gets its Chinese name. The flowers are numerous, and are outstanding in beauty, fragrance and color; they win over other flowers not only because they have large flower coronals, but also because they have special features: when they are growing verdantly, they can produce many small flowers in the leave liquids, and form a miraculous scene of "many stars boosting the moon". 

Because all Dai folks in Xishuangbanna believe in Buddhism, almost all villages there have Buddhist temples. The golden lotus bananas are listed as one of the "five kinds of trees and six kinds of flowers to be planted in temples"; it is widely planted in Xishuangbanna. In the brilliant Dai literary works, the golden lotus banana flowers are deemed as the symbol of kindness and holiness; and we can find descriptions about it in many works. 

In the original place of golden lotus bananas, the folks often use its stalk liquid to dissolve liquor and poison, and its false stalks can be used as the fodder of pigs too. Golden lotus banana flowers can be used as medicines, which can heal women's illnesses such as whites etc.