Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Found The Name of The Ugly Tree: Dead Man's Finger

Last Tuesday, I wrote Financial Lessons from an Ugly Tree. This week, I've learned about the financial power of research and gut feelings. How ugly is the tree? "Dead Man's Finger" is one of the common nicknames for an ugly tree that has stunningly beautiful flowers. Here's my latest list of lessons:

Trust your gut: When I looked at its branches, I thought the tree looked like a cluster of misshapen fingers. I felt validated when I found this description: "It can look awful without its leaves," according to this source. For that reason, the tree is called "Dead Man's Finger" in Australia. From this exercise, I've learned about the validity of my gut instincts. Financially and personally, we often get flashes of insights that prove to be correct. I'm not talking about wishful thinking, but those true-to-the-bone feelings that later haunt us when we ignore our inner verdicts. My worst mistakes have occurred when I have ignored a gut reaction to business opportunities or other scenarios.

  • Don't settle: While trying to put together this post, I was tempted to settle for answers that were almost true. It was tempting to chose easier options, and no one but me would know exactly what tree caught my attention last week. But I continued to search for the right tree. I wanted to be honest with myself and with you. In money and other areas of life, it's often tempting to settle for almost-but-not quite or for less than our best efforts. This exercise taught me to demand more of myself.

  • Be open-minded: I was so thrilled with the vivid description. Dead Man's Finger! That said it all and that nickname fit so well with my plans for this post. But, honestly, there were other vivid nicknames for the tree, including: Jasmine de Cayenne (Brazil), Pagoda Tree or Temple Tree (India), Egg Flower (southern China) , Amapola (Venezuela), according to this source. And by the way, the scientific name is Plumeria . Although, common sense is valuable, it's also important to keep an open mind when evaluating investments, financial planning, frugal choices and personal relationships. One term or plant can have different meanings depending on the observer, setting and language.

  • Expect the Unexpected: Who would think that such an ugly tree would produce such beautiful flowers? "Its flowers are the ones used to form the colorful, tropical flower necklaces (lei) every tourist to our 50th state [Hawaii] wears during at least one beach party," according to this source. Plumeria Frangipani --also known as Dead Man's Finger or Egg Flower -- has taught me to keep my eyes open.


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AnotherGreatRed said...

Oh! I didn't realise you were talking about Plumeria. I know it as 'frangipani'. There was a massive tree in my grandmother's backyard (it's still there as far as I know, though my grandmother's gone...) in a large town in New South Wales, Australia, and my sister and I used to make beautiful necklaces from the flowers. Frangipanis have a beautiful delicate fragrance and that 'ugly' bare tree is a powerful symbol to me of warm weather approaching. Thank you for all your good advice from a new(ish) reader!

Fred Beiderbecke said...

If that is a picture of the flowers, it is a plumeria or frangipani. It is used in Hawaii to make leis and does very well in South Florida. It does drop leaves in the winter.

LaTejanaFria said...

Those flowers look an awful lot like the plumeria trees I saw in Hawai'i a couple of weeks ago.