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A plant sung by the poets
THE INDIAN EXPRESS, Saturday, February  21, 1976
Gift Siromoney

O.T. Ravindran who is internationally known for his water-colours of orchids has now on display (at the Taj) a collection of his recent water-colours of tropical flowering plants--mostly climbers.

His representation of the climbing shrub Abrus precatorius, the common Kundumani plant, is very attractive with the fresh-looking light green leaves, inconspicuous pink flowers, and the scarlet seeds with shiny black end on brown oblong pods. The half-opened Kundumani pods make very fine dry arrangements.

The plant is a native Indian plant and is found growing wild. Most people would have seen the kundumani seeds but not the plant and Mr. Ravindran has done a masterly piece of work in depicting this plant sung by early Tamil poets.

The Pallava kings of Kanchi used the Athondai flower and the Madras region is called Thondainadu after the Thondai creeper (Capparis zeylanica). This is a stout thorny climber which flowers in February and March with white filamentous flowers which turn pinkish brown. Mr. Ravindran's patient rendering of each filament of a flower by a thin stroke, and the representation of the buds are noteworthy. This is not a garden plant and is not easy to locate in its natural jungle setting during the nonflowering season.

The Glory Lily or Glorioso Superba finds a place in his collection. The delicate twiner was known to the early Tamil poets as Kaanthal. Each flower has six long yellow petals tipped with deep orange and the flower used to be compared to the delicate fingers of women. The brilliant colours of the flowers and the soft smooth leaves with spiraling tendrils are ably depicted.

In addition to climbers with bright flowers, he has also painted, inconspicuous plants such as the twining parasite Cassytha filiformis and the leafless parasite Cuscuta chinensis.

He has also displayed paintings of more common garden plants such as the Wood Rose, Jacquemontia, Tecoma, Allamanda and Antigonon.

Ravindran has a style of his own in depicting the most common-place plants in a natural and attractive manner showing faithfully the minute details of the flowers and leaves in the medium of water-colours.

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