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With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

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Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Calamansi - The Multi-Purpose Plant

Calamansi is also known as Calamondin, Limau Kasturi (Malay) or "kat-chai" (Chinese). In Chinese culture it is regarded as a fruit of good fortune with "kat" meaning auspicious.

Scientific name: Citrus x mircocarpa
Synonym: Citrofortunella microcarpa, Citrus x mitis
Family: Rutaceae (Citrus family)

Look! This is how the plant looks like at the nursery and when it arrived at my home, just in time for Chinese New Year 2 years ago. Healthy and full of golden, ripening fruits to symbolise abundance and to bring prosperity for the coming year. Very auspicious indeed. So, we usually have at least 2 of these potted plants placed on each side of our main door entrance. A red ribbon is tied around the pot to activate the good 'chi' of feng shui. Ideally, it should look like this at least for the first 15 days of the lunar new year.

It never fails to amaze me at how master gardeners in nurseries here always manage to make them ripen just in time to look perfect for the new year.

After all the celebrations and merry-making is over and done with, it is our turn to take care of the plant.

Mine is producing quite a lot of flowers this season. These flowers are fragrant and attract a lot of bees and butterflies. When the flowers start to fade and wither, this is the time to look out for butterfly eggs. You need to be more observant during this period as tiny fruits are starting to form. The caterpillars may be as tiny as a milimeter or so to as big as a few centimeters long. You may need to do something before the caterpillars devour the leaves and shoots.
Calamansi has many uses. While the flesh of the fruit tastes very sour even when ripe, the skin may actually taste quite sweet. The leaves are very fragrant and can be used in cooking. Just like in the West, you have the lemon, here in the Far East, we have our calamansi. What the lemon can do, the same goes to calamansi.
Uses of calamansi:
  • a bunch of the calamansi is placed on altars as offerings to deities during prayers
  • an ornamental plant for feng shui purpose
  • fruit juices rich in vitamin C, makes a good health drink when mix with sugar or some honey - tastes like lemonade
  • in dipping sauces and marinades
  • used to get rid of the fishy smell in seafood
  • when dried, sweettened and preserved, can be eaten as a snack
  • preserved calamansi can be mixed with honey and drank to cure sore throat
  • in hair care to remove oil on scalp, cure dandruff and give shine to hair
  • in soaps, lotions, shampoos
  • used as a whitening agent for darkened areas around elbow, knee and armpits
  • deodoriser in fridge to get rid of unpleasant odours
  • used to help remove stubborn food stains on cooking hobs
There is no doubt that calamansi is a useful plant to have at home.

15 comments:

  1. That sounds like quite a multipurpose plant. I'd love to find one.

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  2. I like 'teh O ais limau' ;-) Yes, I see a lot of nurseries sell this tree during CNY. The golden yellow fruits make the home look very festive.

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  3. I will go for Teh beng limau nipis... Mind you, people in sabah, like FJL tend pronounce beng as "peing"... I heard friends from there say it more than once.. Then I remember seeing bowls of water with limau cut into halves at fish stalls, to get rid of the smell from hands...

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  4. Yes, the plant is very decorative during Chinese New Year. Golden fruits and with the red ribbon, it sure is a welcoming sight.

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  5. What a useful plant! Unfortunately I wasn't green fingered enough for mine to thrive despite keeping it indoors :(

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  6. Hi, everybody. Welcome to my blog and thanks for dropping by. I'm so happy! I'm going to drink iced calamansi before I sleep tonight.

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  7. A glass of iced limau (calamansi juice) is my usual order with my lunch these days!

    Glad to find another gardening blogger close to home!! Coz most of the time we face the same problems where our gardens are concerned!

    Thanks for leaving your comment on my blog. For your question on where to get the mulberry plants in Klang Valley, I got one of mine from the Bandar Harapan Organic Farm in Ara Damansara. You can contact Ivan Ho at 019-3751382 or Saktivelu at 012-3331341 or visit their website on how to get to the farm: http://www.bandarharapan.org/bandarharapan/location_map.html

    Or try to contact Danny (Mobile: 016-2785961) who has a plant booth on Sundays at Amcorp Mall. Ask him if he has this plant. He sells many kind of herbs at his booth.

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  8. What a beautiful, useful plant. I enjoyed learning about it. I only wish we lived where Chinese New Year brought special plants to the markets. Here, we have to make our own festivities (and substitute what flowering plants we can find)!

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  9. They look like the citrus family like green lemons/limes.

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  10. June, now with Blotanical, we can feel the festivities around the world. Lets drop by to wish each other Gong Xi Fa Cai in 2010.

    Joanne, you are right. It is definitely from the citrus lime family. Other versions include the kafir lime, kumquats and lime.

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  11. wow!! great information. Thanks! :)

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  12. Anu, Welcome to My Nice Garden and thanks!

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  13. Hey, Limau Kasturi may be a Calamansi but certainly not a Calamondin.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous, welcome to MNG blog! How nice if I know your name. Calamondin and Calamansi are indeed the common names of Citrus x microcarpa, our limau kasturi. Reference: Page 281 of Tropical Horticulture and Gardening book by Dr. Francis S.P. Ng, Clearwater Publications 2006.

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  14. Hi, I've been seeing your plants in the blog, and they are beautiful. I've been looking for calamansi plants to buy for my mom's birthday. She loves them. We had one big calamansi plant back home, but since we moved to an apartment, I've only started recently with our mini-garden via pots.

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