Once when Sri Periyavaa was staying in Sivasthanam, Kanchipuram, a youth who had obtained the doctor degree for his researches in botony sought his darshan. Periyavaa asked him, "What is the reason for the name vetrilai (betel leaf), you know?" When he said that he did not know it, Periyavaa explained, "Vetrilai is a creeper. Any creeper would have flowers that ripe into fruits. The ripening into fruit may not be there, but at least the flower will be there. There is no creeper that never blossoms. But then in this creepr there would be no flowers or fruits. Only the leaves will be there. Since this creeper remains a plant with mere leaves it got the name vetrilai (mere leaf)."The youth who had taken the doctor degree realized that it should really be given to Periyava.