This flowering Hoja Santa plant covers a huge expanse of the wall between my house and my neighbor’s. All photos may be enlarged by clicking on them.
The huge leaves of this plant are used to wrap meat, fish and other food in to cook it. One leaf could wrap an entire fish. The flowers are those long white extensions that eventually thicken, change color, fall to the ground and look exactly like snakes! Mine grew from a small plant Paciano brought me years ago and it is now at least 30 feet wide and 15 feet high.
“Piper auritum is sometimes referred to as pepperleaf, sacred pepper, or root beer plant. Its holy name alludes to a Mexican legend that the Virgin Mary dried the young Messiah’s clean diapers on its branches, which seems unlikely considering the plant’s Mesoamerican origins.
The herb’s unusual flavor is hard to pin down, but it has been compared to licorice, sassafras, mint, tarragon, and eucalyptus. . . .Salsa strengthener: Hoja santa is widely used in traditional Central and South American recipes, both savory and sweet. The Aztecs likely included it in their unsweetened chocolate beverages. It is often sliced and added to pozole or egg dishes, though it is most commonly used as an ingredient in mole Amarillo and mole verde in Oaxaca. In Veracruz, Chiapas, and Tobasco, the broad heart-shaped leaves are used to wrap meat, fish, and occasionally even tamales before cooking. “
The above quotes are taken from THISwebsite. Go there for more information about this interesting plant.
Hoja Santa flowers about to fall to the ground to become snakes.
See the entire wall of Hoja Santa to the left of the pool? This is just about 1/2 of the plant, which towers over the rest of the greenery. Only the palm trees are higher.