Botanical and Cultural Adventures

Botanical and Cultural Adventures

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Myrmecophila christinae Growing on Limestone Formation

Myrmecophila orchids are 'ant pants', providing a cavity for the ants. Here is an amazing species, Myrmecophila christinae growing on pure limestone exposed to full sun. Quite an amazing plant!

Incredible that any plant can survive growing on pure rock, but these are also growing in full sun with a southerly exposure and on limestone. Limestone is noteworthy since it is basic in nature (higher than neutral pH). Most epiphytes and lithophytes prefer it slightly acidic as nutrient uptake is greatly enhanced.

Stenocereus gummosus fruit - pitaya agria

Stenocereus gummosus like many other plants in the genus produce fruit that is both large and pleasant tasting. Fruits from all cactus are 'edible', or not poisonous, but not all are tasty enough or large enough to be worth the effort. Sometimes the small red berries of Mammillarias are worth it with their nice sweet and tart flavor and lack of spines on the fruit. But when you see a fruit like this, it had better taste good to be worth the effort of getting through those spines!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Strombocactus disciformis in Queretaro, Mexico

Strombocactus disciformis flowersThis was a great example of how you always find other cool plants when doing work on studying others. When looking at some Hechtia plants in Queretaro, Mexico I stumbled on these wonderful little cacti that also happened to be in full bloom!

These Strombocactus disciformis are rather small cacti grow in an interesting way, on vertical walls between crumbling and decomposing stone.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Passiflora foetida in Oaxaca

passiflora foetida Oaxaca
Continuing on with my recent theme of edible plants, it was neat to have the chance to find Passiflora foetida fruit in the peak ripeness. The genus Passiflora contains what we call passionflowers or passionfruit. Along with some fascinating relationships with caterpillars/butterflies and ants, many of the species produce edible (and more importantly palatable) fruit.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tillandsia concolor

Tillandsia concolor oaxacaTillandsia concolor is a medium small sized species found in the southern half of Mexico. Typically its leaves form a rosette around 6 inches in diameter and the inflorescence can be a simple paddle or branched with up to 5 paddles. Probably the most unique thing about this species is the bright pink color of its petals. Very distinct compared to most species in the same subgenus that have dark blue-to-violet colored petals. Here is a great plant blooming in southern Oaxaca.