Tuesday, March 13, 2007


More popularly known as gumamela, it is a shrub that grows from one meter up to 4 meters in height. It was supposedly brought to the Philippines by traders from China long before the Spaniards conquered the archipelago. It has since been cultivated as an ornamental plant in which the flower comes in many colors -- red, orange, white, yellow, pink, purple, and in some color combinations.

It has folkloric uses as well. The leaves, flowers, and roots are used to heal mumps, urinary tract infections, and boils. In Japan and in some other Asian countries, the gumamela leaves are blended with Rose Hip to create herbal tea which is believed to promote longevity.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:58 AM


Blogger carlotta1924 said...

wow senor ang ganda ng gumamela! =)

very interesting info about its medicinal purposes too. i remember crushing the leaves and flowers to make really good bubbles. ^^

March 13, 2007 8:45 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Oo nga, ano? I think I remember watching my playmates doing the same thing you did to create bubbles. Don't remember it well because I never got into doing it myself.

March 13, 2007 8:55 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Gorgeous flower!

March 13, 2007 10:38 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Sidney! Took the picture by the front fence of Fort Santiago.

March 13, 2007 12:55 PM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Eric, beautiful picture! Gumamela was the only flower we studied in our science class. But we were never told that its other name is China Rose. We also used to crush its leaves to make "cooking oil" each time we played bahay-bahayan or pretended it was money.

March 13, 2007 4:30 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Bugsy! Now, you're making me remember how this flower has become popular with young kids. I'm beginning to remember once again seeing some playmates in the neighborhood doing the same play with their clay pots and pans :)

March 13, 2007 4:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! The classic red gumamela.

I remember picking gumamelas for my grade school kids for them to identify the parts of the flower - Where's the pistil? the stamen? the petals? the corolla? the pollen? The parts of the flower are easily recognized in gumamelas hence they are commonly used as specimens in Science classes.

I didn't know though that the gumamela was brought here by traders from China. Now, that is another add-on to my knowledge. :)

"Background Out of Focus"... I knew it! That's the technique you used in this pic, right? LOL!

March 13, 2007 7:44 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That is correct, Rhoda. You have to blur the background so it doesn't take away the attention from your subject.

Thanks, for the science review ... hehehe.

March 13, 2007 7:52 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

great portrait of the gumamela sir eric...:)

March 13, 2007 8:42 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Gumamaela joke:

Son: Dad, pengi naman ng pambili ng corsage para sa date ko!

Dad: Lintek na! mahal yang corsage!mamitas ka na lang ng Gumamela diyan sa hardin at yun ang ibigay mo sa date mo tulad nuong nanliligaw pa ako!

Son: Dad naman, tingnan niyo naman ang nakuha niyo!(pointing his lips to his mom in curlers and duster dress)

...crushed Gumamela leaves is a good "tapal" for bruises from scraping your knees, elbows etc. on the hot asphalt pavement while playing patintero.

Kool photo!

March 13, 2007 10:00 PM  

Blogger Sebastiane said...

It looks like our national flower called the Hibiscus.


March 13, 2007 10:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fondest memory and usage of Gumamela for me was making bubbles out of it. :D

Then actually dissecting it in biology class as a model of perfect or complete flower.

Another is its mention in the song "Kanlungan" by Buklod, one of the most beautiful songs in the planet.

March 13, 2007 10:39 PM  

Blogger NeiLDC said...


March 14, 2007 3:53 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Lino!

Please, drop the "sir" -- equal status lahat tayo dito. Besides, I am yet to receive an invite from the Queen to knight me ... hehehe.

March 14, 2007 5:53 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hahaha .. that's funny, Noypetes!

I should have done that as a first aid measure when I scraped my knee in Chinatown last February during New Year's eve celebration.

Amidst the crowd scurrying from the firecrackers on the street was this kid towing a schoolbag on wheels. Didn't see it, tripped, and fell. Luckily I didn't smash my camera on the pavement.

March 14, 2007 5:57 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hibiscus is another name for gumamela, Kyels. This is your national flower? Wow! These flowers are way larger than ours -- sampaguita.

March 14, 2007 5:58 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I am yet to hear "Kanlungan," Jhay.

Actually, as I was posting this, I thought of that popular novelty song that goes, "Ang pula pula, ang bango bango ng bulaklak," which the drunks at videoke bars love to sing because of its salacious conotations :)

March 14, 2007 6:01 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's right, NeilDC ... hibiscus!

I wonder if they have this flower in Spain?

March 14, 2007 6:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not very sure. But I learned somewhere that it's the national flower of Hawaii.. =)

As for that 'No Picture Policy'

When we went to La Mesa Eco Park, I was told that taking pictures of the dam and the structure at the middle are not allowed.

Also when my fellow bloggers rode an LRT we were also advised not to take pictures.

The reason is for security. Because pictures at the internet might give terrorists a guide to carry out their plans.


March 14, 2007 9:12 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Is it really? I didn't know that, KARS.

BTW, lifted the rest of your comment and pasted it on my entry of today. My comment box was somehow turned off on that particular posting (don't know how it happened) without my noticing it.

March 14, 2007 10:30 AM  

Blogger Xinefoto said...

Now you have me wondering if this flower originated in Asia and was brought to the Americas from there or vice versa. They are plentiful where I am in Mexico. At a museum here I just saw an exhibit discussing the Spanish and their trade routes from Mexico to the Philippines...maybe the flowers were part of that.

March 14, 2007 1:08 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Xine!

Here's my take on the gumamela's attribution: If indeed true that the early Chinese traders brought this hibiscus to the Philippine archipelago prior to the Spanish colonial period, chances are the Spanish later brought it to Mexico during the galleon trade era. So, you may be right :)

March 14, 2007 5:05 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...


national flower of malaysia, and state flower of hawaii.

not sure but i think a certain species also special to koreans

it's present in tropical and sub-tropical countries

during supposedly orchid shows, i always see many variants and colorful gumamelas :)

maybe I post also some pics of those colorful flowers. I even have an online friend who calls herself gumamela

lastly, did you notice Manila today is blooming with hibiscus? pictures of it on LRT columns, billboards et al...makes me wonder why

March 15, 2007 1:57 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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