This plant is a large perennial which grows large leaves from the inconspicuous short stem like Aspidistra elatior. The leaves resemble a small palm and it has the name, Palm Grass.
Palm Grass is a relative of Curculigo latifolia which contains a
taste modification substance called curculin (protein) which changes the taste of water or sour things into a sweet taste.
It is very difficult to recognise these two plants without their flower as their appearance is similar.
Curculigo latifolia has a short flower stem and the inflorescence does not droop but Palm Grass has a long stem and its inflorescence droops.
Moreover, Palm Grass has 6 stamens which fuse together but the 6 stamens of Curculigo latifolia are independent.
It is thought that curculin is a substance which has a weak sweet taste.
Its configuration is changed to develop an affinity to the sweet taste receptors when hydrogen ions from sour things bind to it.
Therefore, curculin develops a strong sweet taste from a sour taste but the sour taste remains to some extent because curculin does not erase the sour taste.
| Classification ||Hypoxidaceae Curculigo|
| Scientific name ||Curculigo capitulata (Lour.) Kuntze|
| Japanese name ||Okinbai-zasa|
| English name ||Palm Grass|
| Native locality ||Tropical Asia, Australia|
Ecological description || Perennial|
| RDB || --- |
| Planting place || Central Palm Greenhouse |