Category: Climber

Vinca Major ‘Maculata’

Vinca Major, Photo by PH Morton

Vinca Major, Photo by PH Morton

Vinca Major ‘Maculata’

Vinca major is a good climber but can grow robustly and actively on the ground and can therefore be a bit of a nuisance as its stems can root just about anywhere.  However it does give lovely jewel of vivid blue flowers and its leaves are so green and beautifully shiny with yellow shade in the middle.

Maculata flowers in the spring.

So it needs a good pruning to control its growth after flowering or train it to climb into a bush or shrub to co-exist.

Luffa Squash – (Kabatiti)

Luffa Squash – (Kabatiti)

Luffa Squash is known in Manila, Philippines as patola and as kabatiti amongst Ilocano speaking people of Northern Luzon.

When I was a little girl in Marag, we used to tell the time by the flowering of some plants. Kabatiti usually flowers at around 5:00pm. So those who are on cooking duties would rush home to start preparing supper.

The flowers of kabatiti, like those of squash and pumpkins can be eaten as well. It is delicious blanched into a salad with tomatoes and the local bagoong (fermented fish). It is delicious added to the staple dish of Ilocanos which is the pakbet or pinakbet. It could also be cooked in dinengdeng.


The kabatiti or Luffa Squash is a complex vegetable which is made of vascular netted sponge-like material. When left to dry, the vegetable is ideal as a bathing scrubber. In fact the luffah cloth now available in the market are made from these kabatitis of luffas.