When time and funding permit, each flower (each plant species) will have its own page, and its own PDF, and eventually its own PPT so that professors and students have plenty of material on Guatemala (and Honduras, etc) to study.

Heliconia adflexa, Coban, Guatemala, Hotel Monja Blanca, FLAAR, by Nicholas Hellmuth

Florifundia
This space is for flowers
we have recently found and photographed.

Reports by FLAAR Mesoamerica
on Flora & Fauna of Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo
Peten, Guatemala, Central America


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Caoba, mahogany, tree fruit pods along Guatemala highway CA-9

Posted November 12, 2021

In October we visited Lagunita Creek for the third time during the Documentation of Livingston, Izabal Project. This time the atmosphere was more humid than the last times we have visited it. Therefore, we find various mushrooms on the trails that we want to show you.

As you drive from Guatemala City towards Rio Dulce (en route to Peten) you will see giant mahogany trees all along the highway in El Progresso and Zacapa areas. The mahogany trees are easiest to recognize from October onward when the giant seed pods are visible.

I have been driving this road since the 1970’s. so am familiar with these beautiful trees and their large seed pods (the size of a large pine cone, but smooth).

This week (November 11, 2021), I kept seeing these pods but they were a white color, not the soft brown color of a mature pad that I was used to. So finally I stopped to take some snapshots. Our telephoto lenses were all packed in the back of the vehicle so I had only an iPhone 13 Pro Max available to take snapshots.

We were en route to Rio Dulce, to stay as guests of the owner of Marina and Hotel El Tortegal, along the Rio Dulce south of the highway bridge.

Swietenia macrophylla King, plant family Meliaceae, mahogany in English, caoba in Spanish.

 


 

 

Árbol Espino de vaca

Posted November 12, 2021

One of our objectives of the October expedition was to photograph the “Espino de Vaca” tree, so we spent one morning walking to the Aldea El Rosario where we could document it.

The next day, in Tapon Creek Reserve, at the edge of the trail we were able to find one again. This tree is important, since it is part of the series of Edible Plants of Wetlands of the Municipality of Livingston, Izabal.

Pithecellobium laceolatum is a species of tree belonging to the FABACEAE family. It lives in tropical and subtropical areas, grows from 0 to 1800 meters above sea level; This species is distributed from the south of the USA, Mexico and Central America. This plant serves to regenerate and improve the quality of the soils because it is associated with other species of the same or other families. It is adapted to survive in climates from very dry to very humid.

Taxonomy:

Kingdom

Plantae

Order

Fabales

Family

Fabaceae

Genus

Pithecellobium

Species

Pithecellobium laceolatum

Botanical description:

Size

Reaches up to 15 m in height.

Cortex

Its base measures 30 cm or more, it has horizontal marks from which two spines are detached.

Flowers

3 to 8 centimeters hermaphroditic, small white to yellow in the shape of spikes.

Leaves

Coriaceae, alternate, pinnate (composed of two pairs of leaflets) 5 to 10 cm long and 2 3.5 cm wide.

Fruits

Young green pods between 5 to 20 cm and turn an intense red color when ripe.

Seeds

Up to 8 seeds per pod that are 1 to 1.5 cm long and 0.8 cm wide Brown.

Roots

Pivoting deep and strong.

References

http://ri.uagro.mx/bitstream/handle/uagro/2143/CP_17445_20.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Written by Vivian Hurtado & Roxana Leal
Identified Species by Victor Mendoza

 


 

 

Mushrooms: amazing organisms

Posted November 12, 2021

In October we visited Lagunita Creek for the third time during the Documentation of Livingston, Izabal Project. This time the atmosphere was more humid than the last times we have visited it. Therefore, we find various mushrooms on the trails that we want to show you.

We invite you to visit Lagunita Creek in Río Sarstún, Izabal to conduct research on flowers and fungi, and you can also do ecotourism.

Fungi have different mutualistic relationships, such as mycorrhizae, which refers to the relationship that exists between fungi and plant roots. On the one side, the roots secrete sugars, amino acids, fatty acids and other organic substances that benefit fungi and, on the other hand, fungi convert the soil minerals and decomposing matter into forms assimilable by the roots of the plant.

There are also endophytic fungi that establish a relationship with the plants where they live within them without causing symptoms. In this case, the fungus is capable of producing bioactive metabolites, as well as modifying the defense mechanisms of its host, allowing and increasing the survival of both organisms.

 

Fungi classification

Chytridiomycota

Predominant aquatic fungi, these have flagella and are the most ancestral fungi.

Glomeromycota

Fungi that make symbiotic relationships with other organisms such as mycorrhizae.

Basidiomycota

They are the most common fungi that we know as mushrooms, they help fix nutrients and degrade organic material in forests.

Zygomycota

They inhabit terrestrial foods, a large part of the molds that attack vegetables.

Ascomycota

They form lichens, these are associated between fungi with algae, cyanobacteria, yeasts.

 

Written by Vivian Hurtado & Roxana Leal
Identified Species by Victor Mendoza


 

 

Exotic blue fruits of Psychotria poeppigiana

Posted November 11, 2021

“Labios de mujer” Psychotria poeppigiana is one of the species that we have best photographed during our October 2021 expedition. In Aldea El Rosario, Tapón Creek, there were places where several flowers and fruits of this species were observed.

 

Psychotria poeppigiana is a species of plant of the RUBIACEAE family. What we commonly see as the red petals of this plant are actually modified leaves or also called bracts. These turn red due to the carotenoid pigments they contain, as a strategy to attract pollinators. The flowers are actually white in color and clustered in the center. When these are pollinated, blue colored fruits can be observed.

Rubiaceae is a family made up of about 600 genera and more than 1000 species of herbaceous, shrubs, trees, vines, epiphytes, which are distributed and of greater diversity in the tropical belt.

Taxonomy

Kingdom

Plantae

Order

Gestianales

Family

Rubiaceae

Genus

Psychotria

Species

Psychotria poeppigiana

 

Written by Vivian Hurtado & Roxana Leal
Identified Species by Victor Mendoza


 

 

Gray mangrove (Conocarpus erectus) in Lagunita Creek

Posted November 11, 2021

In Lagunita Creek area you can find several creeks made by spaces between mangroves, generally you can see a lot of Red Mangrove. It is difficult to navigate in this place, especially if the boat is large and has a roof, like the one we were transporting on this expedition. On this occasion among the Red Mangrove we could see Gray Mangrove, also called Button Mangrove or Buttonwood.

Its fruit is dark red and round. It was important to document this species, since we do not have as many photographs in our digital library.

Conocarpus erectus is a tree highly branched, producing a leafy crown with gray branches and a central stem that can measure up to 1 m in diameter. It is widely distributed in the Antilles, from Mexico throughout the Atlantic and on the Pacific side from northern Mexico to northeastern Peru.

Taxonomy:

Kingdom

Plantae

Order

Myrtales

Family

Combretaceae

Genus

Conocarpus

Species

Conocarpus erectus

Botanical description:

Leaves

Lanceolate 3 to 8 cm long by 1 to 3 cm wide.

Flower / Inflorescence

In the form of panicles that measure from 5 to 10 cm and flowers organized in balloon-shaped capitula of 2 to 3 cm in diameter with ovate bracts and acuminate apex.

Fruits

Flattened with two tiled wings in a structure similar to a 10 to 12 mm brown cone.

References

www.lifeder.com/mangle-botoncillo/

Written by Vivian Hurtado & Roxana Leal
Identified Species by Victor Mendoza

 


 

 

Pheasant’s tail (Anthurium schlechtendalii)

Posted November 10, 2021

On the shore of Laguna Yaxha in front of the museum and camp area you can find a dock that is currently covered by water, on the left side there is a Stone Sheet. During our October expedition we were able to observe its spike. We documented it in the afternoon just at sunset, so the light was very good.

Anthurium schlechtendalii is an herbaceous plant belonging to the ARACEAE family. Its common name is pheasant’s tail, or also known as stone leaf (in Spanish). It is native from Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Mexico (Yucatan peninsula); Nicaragua, humid places of tropical forests from 0 to 15,000 meters above sea level.

Botanical description:

It is a generally epiphytic plant, or in lesser cases lithophytic or terrestrial. It has a stem 3 to 5 cm in diameter, numerous white fleshy roots. Its leaves are supported by a thick, erect, 8-20 cm long petiole, elliptical obovate with wavy margins. The inflorescence is in the shape of a spadix, very characteristic of the Araceae family, supported by a peduncle 35 to 50 cm long. The flowers are 2 mm arranged in a spiral where only those found in the lower part are hermaphrodites. The fruits are oblong berries 1 to 2 cm long, bright red with two seeds. It is a plant that germinates generally by seeds once it has sufficient conditions and falls on organic material rich in nutrients and humid between 26 and 28 degrees centigrade.

Taxonomy:

Kingdom

Plantae

Class

Monocotiledonea

Order

Alismatales

Family

Araceae

Genus

Anthurium

Species

Epidendreae

Genus

Anthurium schlechtendalii

References

www.monaconatureencyclopedia.com/anthurium-schlechtendalii/?lang=es

Written by Vivian Hurtado & Roxana Leal
Identified Species by Victor Mendoza

 


 

 

Flora documented at the Temple 216 or Temple of the Red Hands at Yaxha National Park

Posted November 9, 2021

In our October expedition we made a walking tour in Yaxha Park, where we documented the flora that was found from the entrance to Temple 216 or Temple of the Red Hands. Right at the entrance we were able to photograph very photogenic white orchids that were attached to a tree.

Prosthechea radiata is an epiphytic and / or lithophytic plant, that means it can live attached to other plants or rocks (it is not parasitic). It is characterized by an intense and pleasant sweet aroma. Belonging to the ORCHIDACEAE family. This is distributed from sea level to 2000 meters above sea level and can be found in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Botanical description:

Glabrous plant measuring 12 to 40 cm in height. The pseudobulbs are ovoid-ellipsoid type, lemon green in color and with 2 or 3 apical leaves to it). The pseudobulbs are 4 and 13 m long and 2 to 3 cm wide. The leaves are linear lingulate to linear lanceolate, leathery, 11 and 35 cm long and 1.2 and 3.2 cm wide. The flowers are pale lemon green color and cream tones, with a marked and characteristic aroma and the lip is marked by parallel purple lines.

Taxonomy:

Kingdom

Plantae

Division

Spermatophyta

Class

Monocotyledoneae

Order

Microspermae

Family

Ochidaceae

Tribe

Epidendreae

Genus

Prosthechea

Species

Prosthechea radiata

Common names

Canelita, Garrapatilla, conchitas

References

https://arboretum.ufm.edu/plantas/prosthechea-radiata/

Written by Vivian Hurtado & Roxana Leal
Identified Species by Victor Mendoza

 


 

 

Cuajilote trees in Yaxha, Nakum and Naranjo National Park

Posted November 8, 2021

On the road between Santa Elena and Yaxha in Petén you can find Cuajilote trees (Parmentiera acueleata). On our October expedition, when we were heading to Yaxha, Nakum and Naranjo National Park, we made a stop on the road to photograph this tree.

Its fruit was just ripe, one of them almost fell on us when we were photographing it.

 

Botanical Description

Greenish cauliflower flowers, stems with thorns at the nodes. Its shape is a medium tree. Its bark is slightly fissured yellowish brown. The leaves are usually opposite with three leaflets or simple. Solitary or grouped flowers 5 to 6 cm long that grow directly from the trunk or at the ends of the branches, in this case the flowers are green with light pink or purple lines. The fruit is a bay of approximately 15 cm x 6 cm usually curved from yellowish to green (Peña & Kanpp, 2011). This plant prefers warm climates, but it can thrive in all types of soil (Red de Viveros de Biodiversidad, n.d.).

Uses

It is a fodder tree, which serves as food for wildlife and shade for pasture and firewood. It has medicinal uses; the aqueous extract of the flower, fruit, bark and root is used to cure kidney stones and asthma and cough discomforts. The root is also used as a diuretic. The wood can be used for carpentry (Red de Viveros de Biodiversidad, n.d.).

Taxonomy

Kingdom

Plantae

Division

Magnoliophyta

Class

Magnoliopsida

Order

Lamiales

Family

Bignionaceae

Tribe

Crescentieae

Genus

Parmentiera

Species

Parmentiera acueleata

Common names

Cuajilote, Guajilote, Cacao de mono

 

References

  • PEÑA, M. and S. KNAPP
  • 2011
  • Árboles del mundo maya. London, England: Natural History Museum: Pronatura Península de Yucatán: Fundación ProPetén: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. 263 pages.

Written by Vivian Hurtado & Roxana Leal
Identified Species by Victor Mendoza


 

 

Cattail (Thypa dominguensis) a macrophyte documented of Livingston

Posted November 5, 2021

Thypa domingensis is an emerging rooted macrophyte, which we have seen in several areas of Livingston. This time it was documented in Laguna Grande. If you open its simple stem, you can see fiber inside which tulle can be made.

Cattail-Thypa-dominguensis-Laguna-Grande-Rio-Sarstun

Cattail (Thypa dominguensis) at Laguna Grande, Rio Sarstun, Livingston. October, 2021. Photo by Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth with iPhone 12 Pro Max, FLAAR Mesoamerica.

Typha domingensis Pers. It is a very striking plant and is frequently found in continental water bodies and on occasions it is used as a phytoremediation due to its nutrient absorption capacity to avoid accelerated eutrophication in water bodies or in wastewater treatment plants. It is described as an aquatic herb, leaves generally equaling or exceeding the height of the spikes, attenuated pods towards the blade up to 1.5 m long and 0.8 to 1.3 cm wide, acute apex. Its inflorescences are in the form of light monero spica with foliaceous bracts. The male spike is up to 42 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, generally separated from the female. The fruits are spindle-shaped, 1 to 1.5 mm long.

Typha domingensis it is commonly known as: Cattail, tule, tulle, body of water, cat's tail, breast tail, petalzmicua, savanna candle, tulle or passion reeds.

This species is often used for basketry and handicrafts. It is also used as fodder for animal feed, it also has medicinal properties for the treatment of the skin in issues of hair loss and burns. It can be used as shingle straw and as an ornamental ornament.

Taxonomy:

Kingdom

Plantae

Subkingdom

Tracheobionta

Division

Magnoliophyta

Class

Liliopsida

Order

Poales

Family

Typhaceae

Genus

Typha

Species

Typha dominguensis

Common names

Cattail, tule, tulle, body of water, cat's tail, breast tail, petalzmicua, savanna candle, tulle or passion reeds.ypha

References

Written by Vivian Hurtado & Roxana Leal
Identified Species by Victor Mendoza

 


 

 

Red Mangroove an essential species for mangrove ecosystems

Posted November 5, 2021

When we were navigating through the entrance of Laguna Grande we could observe different structures of the red mangrove in which we could highlight the tiny yellow flowers and two red mangrove fruits. We had not had the opportunity to photograph these ripe fruits and the intense red color they present is incredible.

The red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) is a tree species of the Rizophoraceae family typical of mangrove ecosystems. It is commonly called red mangrove, Colorado mangrove, chifle mangrove, zapotero mangrove or cunapo.

Different uses are attributed to Rhizophora mangle

 

Entada-polystachya-bejuco-de-agua-rio-chocon-machacas

Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) at Laguna Grande, Rio Sarstun, Livingston. October, 2021. Photo by Roxana Leal with iPhone 13 Pro Max, FLAAR Mesoamerica.

 

Entada-polystachya-bejuco-de-agua-rio-chocon-machacas

Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) at Laguna Grande, Rio Sarstun, Livingston. October, 2021. Photo by Victor Mendoza with Sony RX10, FLAAR Mesoamerica.

Use

Part of the plant

Adhesivo

Látex

Handricrafts

Wood

Colorants

Cortex

Fuel

Wood

Edible

Fruit

Construction

Wood and leaves (for ceillings)

Tools

Wood

Medicinal

Cortex, leaves and root

Melliferous

Flower

Botanical Description

Habit

Prenifolio tree of saline habitat, 15 m high up to 30 m.

Size

Simple inflorescence of 2 to 3 flowers, actinomorphic and the corolla is about 1.8 cm

Stem

Brown berry about 2 to 3 cm long by 1.5 wide

Leaves

Alternate up to 25 cm long, composed of rachis with up to 5 to 15 pairs of secondary axes with narrow leaflets of up to 11mm.

Inflorescence

It has viviparity (the seed germinates within the fruit). Green color, it measures between 22 and 40 cm long and between 1 and 2 cm in diameter.

Flowers

It has fulcreatic, branched, arched and curved roots where modified roots called stilts develop.

Fruits and seeds

Opposite and simple, agglomerate form measuring 8 to 15 cm long and 4 to 6 wide.

Importance of mangroves:

  • They protect biodiversity, since they serve as a refuge, feeding and reproduction area for many terrestrial and aquatic, migratory and local species.
  • Its roots are of great importance because they can fix sediments and regulate erosion, protecting coastal marine areas because they hold mud and help to extend the mainland. They have a high carbon storage capacity in plant tissue.
  • Serve as natural barriers against tropical storms and hurricanes.
  • Mangrove ecosystems serve as natural filters as they absorb a large amount of nutrients in the water in order to prevent eutrophication.
  • They maintain the quality of the water. They work as a filter for some pollutants.
  • They are of great economic importance due to the fishing species that they harbor.

Written by Vivian Hurtado & Roxana Leal
Identified Species by Victor Mendoza

 

 
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Parque Nacional Yaxha, Nakum and Naranjo

Botanical Terms

Smartphone Camera Reviews

Fungi and Lichens

Consulting cacao & Theobroma species

Tobacco Ingredients of Aztec & Maya

Bombacaceae, Bombacoideae

Plants and trees used to produce incense

Camera Reviews for Photographing Flowers and Plants

Flowers native to Guatemala visible now around the world

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SUBJECTS TO BE COVERED DURING NEXT 6 MONTHS

Fruits (typical misnomer mishmash of Spanish language)

Fruits (vines or cacti)

Flowers, sacred

Plants or trees that are used to produce incense

We Thank Gitzo, 90% of the photographs of plants, flowers and trees in Guatemala are photographed using a Gitzo tripod, available from Manfrotto Distribution.
We thank Hoodman, All images on this site are taken with RAW CF memory cards courtesy of Hoodman.
Pachira aquatica, zapoton, zapote bobo, crucial sacred flower for Maya archaeologists and iconographers
Read article on Achiote, Bixa orellana, annatto, natural plant dye for coloring (and flavoring) food (especially cacao drink) in Guatemala and Mexico.
Read article on Cuajilote or Caiba: Parmentiera aculeata, a forgotten fruit.
Read article on Split leaf philodendron, Monstera deliciosa.
Read article on Gonolobus, an edible vine from Asclepiadaceae Family.
Pachira aquatica, zapoton, zapote bobo, crucial sacred flower for Maya archaeologists and iconographers
Flor de Mayo,Plumeria rubia, plumeria alba, plumeria obtusa. Edible flower used to flavor cacao
Guanaba, annona squamosa, Chincuya, Annona purpurea, Sugar apple, Chirimoya

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