Palm Grass
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
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