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Katuray,  Katurai, Orchid Dubloom

(Sesbania grandiflora)

Shop for: Katuray

Katuray is a fun plant to play with.  It is a tropical and will not last through the winter planted in the ground here on the Northern Gulf Coast.  However, if the gardener wishes a spectacular fall bloom that gets all the neighbors talking, there is a strategy that actually gets the gardener two bloom events in a growing season: Spring and fall.

In the Spring, with a 1 year container plant , install the Katuray when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50 deg. f.  Here at Luna Peak that is about middle March. 

Plant it in the warmest, sunniest, best moisture spot and by Memorial Day you should have your first crop of blooms on a small shrub.   Katuray blooming is Day Length Sensitive.  This is why it blooms in the Spring (short days) — then grows rapidly to 15 feet in the summer  (long days) — then blooms again in the Fall (short days again):  double blooming events! 

Because of this habit and honoring our Spanish / Luna Expedition cultural heritage, I like to call this plant the “Orchid Dubloom”   

The flowers are the edible part of this plant with some degree of preparation.  The pictures shown here are from white flowers.  Used widely in the Philippines, I found this recipe for Ensaladang Katuray out of Hawaii.  I have not investigated beyond blanching young blooms in broth and stir fry.  Tasty enough.  I have not yet extended the adoption of this plant to my Garden Meal Days (GMD):  I like to watch the bloom.

Luna Peak Adaptation Notes:  Not adapted.  I mostly seek plants that are easy perennial or easy annual.  This is one of those plants (like my papayas) that I am willing to take “heroic measures”  with because this one is symphony in the forest.

What I mean by heroic measures is that this plant needs to be inside nearing greenhouse like conditions from  as long as middle October to  middle March — excepting warm days and stretches in the winter where nighttime temps stay above 50 deg. f.  It is a labor of love to carry it through our sub-tropical winter.

But it is such a beautiful plant that I want to have one each year and like to offer this interesting plant to other folks that like a little drama in the garden.

RSD Design Layer Integration

Sustainability:  Not Sustainable.  Consumes energy carrying plants through sub-tropical winter. Low GMD does not justify. 

Survivability:  Does not meet requirements.  Not Survivable in the absence of external electric utility.  Catastrophic weather events in this region would strip the edible parts from the tree.  Does not produce significant ready-fresh food security for other “lights-out” Threat Event scenarios.

Adaptation: None anticipated through the next 75 – 100 years.

Resilience: None