Angraecum fragrans Thouars
Common Name: Faham
Drawing of a flowering plant
Photograph by: Matilda Smith
Faham is a fairly fast-growing epiphytic orchid, becoming a bushy, often semi-pendent plant with many shoots when a few years old[
]. The whole plant, but especially the dead and decaying old leaves, has a sweet, coumarin-like scent[
The leaves are used to make a popular tea, popularly used within the plants native range.
Africa - Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean.
Epiphytic in the higher branches of trees at mid-elevation[
A tea called 'The de Bourbon' is made from the aromatic leaves[
]. The best flavour is obtained from leaves picked green. Carefully cut off a few leaves and let them dry in a dark and airy place. When you can smell their sweet
fragrance, they are ready to use[
Seed - surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil[
]. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.
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