Monday, 2 May 2011

Cyperus Alternifolius: The Mill, Kakopetria

Cyperus alternifolius, syn. Cyperus racemosus is also known as the umbrella plant or umbrella sedge. It is a perennial plant which is native to Madagascar, Mauritius and The RĂ©union island. I found a large specimen growing at The Mill restaurant in Kakopetria, Cyprus, and took a cutting. It's really easy to propagate: just cut a healthy stem about 10 cm from the top, trim the leaves to about 2 cm and place it upside down in a jar of water. After a week or so, roots will start to appear and a week or so later green shoots will begin to grow. Let the shoots grow a couple of cm, then plant in a small pot of compost. Keep it well watered - never let it dry out - and give it plenty of light. This cutting was taken last November and is now flourishing here in the UK five months later after one re-potting.
If you're ever in or near Kakopetria, The Mill restaurant is worth a visit. Their speciality is grilled trout in a butter, lemon and garlic sauce, from a local trout farm. The rest of the grub on offer is pretty good too, especially the grilled mushrooms and the pork chops, but don't bother with the seafood salad - you're in the mountains. The landlord is a loquacious fellow; a Cypriot who emigrated to England and ran a restaurant in Maryland Road, Wood Green *. He  eventually moved back to Cyprus where he opened the Maryland Restaurant in Kakopetria - where he introduced his Trout Speciality - before acquiring and redeveloping the Mill.
* a couple of streets along from Spencer Avenue, where my grandfather lived. Small world.

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