The tropical floral arrangement above was put together by the geniuses at Moss and Rose in response to our challenge to use only plants native to Southeast Asia–the kind of generic flora that you barely notice by the side of the road.
The starring role, no doubt, goes to the torch ginger flower or Etlingera elatior. More than just a tropical temptress, the flower has traditionally been used for its antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties. You could even use it to whip up an exotic version of spaghetti aglio olio à la Sylvia Tan: sauté finely chopped torch ginger buds with garlic and chilli in a lug (as Jamie Oliver might say) of olive oil, toss with cooked pasta and generous amounts of parmesan, and voilà!
The green and white striped leaves belong to the poetically named Song of India or Dracaena reflexa (Latin for “hunched-over she-dragon”). It also has a range of medical applications and is used as an anti-inflammatory, an astringent for rheumatism and to treat diarrhoea. Imagine Jeanne Moreau contemplating her potted Song of India as she croons her India Song:
And last, but not least, our supporting actor, the nubby shoots of the Alexandra palm or Archonotophoenix alexandra. It was so named by two German botanists after Alexandra of Denmark, better known as the Queen consort to King Edward VII. Besides its ornamental uses, the tree is also cultivated as a source of hearts-of-palm. Ok, we cheated a bit here, because the Alexandra palm is native to Australia–although ubiquitous in Singapore–but it could work if you thought about Australia as Australasia.