This plant is known as ‘Ulat Bulu’ flower the caterpillar flower. Its other names are Letup-Letup, Letup Letup Kelambu, Foetid Passion Flower, Stinking Passion Flower and Wild Maracuja.
Originally from South America and West India, this plant can be found easily in abandoned space or land. It spreads rapidly through its seeds and can dominate the entire place in a short period of time covering the earth fully especially in areas like rubber plantation. A creeper by nature it has thin, hard trunk almost like a wire covered in short, sticky, fine hair. The leaf has three branches like the grapevine with stinky, strong odour when crushed.
The flower is white with green fruit that changes to reddish orange when ripe. A protective, netted covering reign shields each fruits as if a trap for bugs and insects. The fruits on the other hand contains plenty of black seeds covered in sweet, watery, white flesh that can be consumed while the young shoots can be cooked as vegetables. They can be fried, simmered in coconut milk or boiled in clear broth soup.
Besides its popularity in Malay cuisine, this plant is also used in traditional medicine to treat skin problems like itchiness, cuts even coughs. For skin treatment, the whole tree is used and cleaned, then boiled. Once the water cool down, it will be used to wash the affected areas. It can also be drank to reduce coughing. For cuts, the leaves are crushed and applied on the wounded area.
Due to its multiple benefits and common availability in Malaysia, the flower is a suitable choice as one of the motifs that demonstrates our identity. One glance the motif appears as if a person is bowing or in the midst of a dancing movement where they gracefully flip their ‘skirt’ or ‘fan’ leaf.
Motif Bunga Letup
The entire display looks like an extravagant person who makes their presence known and felt, yet still with a dignified, respectful, humility through its motion and gestures.
Aligned with its name ‘Bunga Letup’ where ‘letup’ also means to burst or make a ‘pop’ sound; the motif truly captures that flamboyant essence of this plant with its detailed curves and intertwining thin trunk, dominating the space with its elegance, authenticity and passionate energy.
Letup Bunga si Ulat Bulu Menjalar pantas menutup bumi Tutup dosa kerana malu Melembar pahala moga diampuni
Letup letup the flower pops Creeping fast covering earth Past sins carefully covered May we be forgiven, a new rebirth