Wondering what the Brahma Kamal flower is, and does it even exist? Here is Everything You Need to Know about this exotic bloom!
This stunning flower is named after the Hindu deity Brahma, who is said to be the creator of the cosmos. Also, known as the king of Himalayan flowers, Brahma kamal is native to India, Myanmar, and southwest China. In India, its buds can be profusely seen dangling in the upper Himalayan ranges between 3000–5700 m. Brahma Kamal is the state flower of Uttarakhand and majorly spotted in the Valley of flowers, Kedarnath, Tungnath, Badrinath, Sikkim, Kashmir, Garhwal, Hemkund, and Srikhand Mahadev.
Botanical Name: Saussurea Obvallata
Other Names: Night-blooming Cereus, Kon, Queen of the night, Kapfu, Lady of the night
Historical Stories Behind Brahma Kamal
According to the Hindu mythological tales, Lord Brahma was born on this huge white flower, due to which it was named so. Some stories also reveal that in Ramayana when Lakshmana was reborn, thanks to the Sanjeevni Booti, the gods showered the Brahma flower from the heavens that fell and took roots in the valley of flowers.
While another school of thought says that when Lord Shiva furiously beheaded his own son Ganesha, Lord Brahma created this flower, and the water from its petals was sprinkled on Ganesha to revive him. Hence, many Purana verses state Brahma Kamal as a life-giving bloom.
The flower has also been mentioned in Mahabharat scripture, when life was taking a toll on Draupadi and she was accompanied by Pandavas in the forest during the exile period, she got a chance to see this flower unfurling that rendered her with instant spiritual gratification.
Botanical Features of Brahma Kamal
The flower features a stout stem with sharp yellow bracts surrounding its flower head. It opens up in a large, star-like shape and releases a pleasing, but strong fragrance to attract the pollinators. Though the scent is soothing, it is so intense that it can be uncomfortable for some people.
Usually, home growers do not cultivate this flower in their gardens, but you can grow it through cuttings before the arrival of winters in cactus mix soil. The plant asks for rough soil from the mountain regions to thrive well. It is cactus-like, so it does well in less watering.
When Does it Bloom?
The flower blooms only once a year during the nighttime, mostly in mid-monsoon in between July to September after the sunset. It takes around two hours to stretch out and attain its full shape and size (8-inches) and stays open throughout the night.
According to some ideology, luck favors the person who gets the chance to see Brahma kamal bloom, as this phenomenon is quite rare as well as auspicious, and the utmost desire fulfills if you wish it while seeing it bloom.
Medicinal Properties of Brahma Kamal
Brahma kamal is not only famous for its unusual flower but also for its potent medicinal properties. The whole part of the plant is useful in traditional Tibetan medicine. It is effective in treating bone ache, fever, cold, cough, and intestine problems.
Its soup is an effective liver tonic and is helpful in reducing liver inflammation and urinary tract infection. Moreover, the rhizome of this plant has anti-septic properties, therefore it is useful in healing cuts, wounds, and bruises.
The Threat of Gradual Extinction of Brahma Kamal
Thanks to its immense medicinal properties, and rarity, Brahma kamal has been adversely exploited and smuggled by humans. Due to which this flower species is on the verge of extinction and extirpation. To control its human trafficking, Brahma kamal is included in the negative list of exportation from the Wildlife Protection Act of India, and its trade has also been prohibited by the Foreign trade development act.