Orchids are not uncommon, but depend on the right amount of rain to bloom.
People love orchids because they are beautiful. Biologists love them because they are sexual tricksters.
Utricularia, or Bladderwort, is an insectivorous plant. In the U.S., they are almost all aquatic. The roots and insectivorous bladders (the white ones) of this species grow in soil. The specimen is from a cloud forest in Venezuela.
Jackass Bitters is one of the most important medicinal plants to the Maya. It is most often used for an upset stomach (“the bitta, the betta”)
Doug Nobile curing his runs by chewing Jackass bitters.
The beefworm plant oozes a white, alkaloid that Maya use to kill botfly larvae.
Marcos Ack shows the white alkaloid ooze that one dabs on the beefworm to kill it.
Beefworm plant flowers and fruits (taken in August).
Red-sticky is a common plant used by the Maya to stop bleeding. They just wad up the leaves and press them on the wound. It gets its name from the reddish stem.
Fish Plant is a rounded leafed plant that the Maya use to wrap fish when cooking. It also has medicinal uses.
Cassava (manihot, manioc, yuca) is a staple food of the Maya.
Vincenti Ack and Macal, also called poi. In the southeast, it grows wild along bayous and rivers and is called Elephant Ear, Colocasia.
Primitive societies always had viagra-like medications.
This is parapim, the kek’chi name for the viagra-like plant used in San Miguel.
Japanese Hats, Holmskiolda sanguinea – Trinidad.
Spiny Bamboo is common along rivers in Belize. Iguanas love to bask on the upper branches, and thus got the name “bamboo chickens.”
When you see stands of bamboo like this, look closely for iguanas.
Haul-em-back – a common vine that is covered with small thorns that simply will not let go of you.
The fronds of all ferns grow from unfolding “fiddleheads.”
The Powder Puff Tree, Calliandra. Hummingbirds love this plant.
Sugarcane is a common agricultural crop in the north.
“Sameness” of tropical forests Dark with flecks of sun Tall trees (at least appearing so, due to “thin” shape with most branches high) Flaring roots, buttresses, prop roots Tangled where sunlight penetrates Lots of woody vines Humid!!!
“Sameness” of plants Many woody Wood often hard and insect resistant (why?) Leaves –Drip trips –Waxy –Often oval, unlobed, and with no teeth
Differences of tropical forests Rich (e.g., alluvial) vs. poor (sandy) soils Evolutionary history (kinds of organisms) Terra firme vs. várzea Not all wet or superwet—don’t forget the seasonally dry forest (and savannahs and high mountains and …)