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.

Brugmansia arborea, Florifundia
Photo by Sofia Monzon with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i.

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

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Improving Mayan Diet with Healthy Local Plants

Posted Jan. 2, 2017

Amaranthus-hypochondriacus-Bledo-Amaranto-Rabinal-Nov-1-2016-DS-AG-F12I4338
Amaranth-young-leaves-BLEDO-Milpa-Los-Pajoques-San-Juan Sacatepequez-Dec-29-2016-NH-4689

Amaranth, Amaranthus hypochondriacus, with an insect which may possibly be Brachygastra mellifica, one of the few wasps of Mesoamerica which makes honey. Photographed in Rabinal during Day of the Dead ceremonies, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, 2016.

The diverse eco-systems throughout the Mayan areas of Guatemala and adjacent countries offer much more than just maize, beans, and squash of the traditional milpas. For thousands of years people also ate seeds, leaves, flowers, roots, and even edible vines of plants growing around their homes or in nearby forests.

We at FLAAR Mesoamerica have worked for years to learn what nice edible plants can improve the health of people both in villages and in remote areas. Several Guatemalan botanists and agronomists also have excellent articles and books on these subjects; Dr Cesar Azurdia is one example. When you visit remote areas, you quickly see healthy edible plants which are totally missing from most peer-reviewed journal articles in USA and Europe. And our list of plants to support Mayan families already exceeds all lists produced by the experienced botanist Cyrus Lundell and other Carnegie Institution of Washington scholars of the 1930’s through 1950’s.

Plus we have more documentation on edible aspects, more than in the helpful Standley and Steyermark monographs on flora of Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, and Belize.

Our goal for 2017 is to seek funding so that we can publish our results, especially in local Mayan languages so that both parents, children, and grandparents, can learn about all the potential healthy edible plants available in Guatemala. Improving health is a crucial goal.

With most of the mature forests being bulldozed for commercial purposes, it is useful to have a list of plants available 2000 years ago. And especially, our goal is to do close-up photography of the flowers to help botanists identify the species.

Byrsonima-crassifolia-nance-fruta-April-2013-NH-8437
Nance, which ironically looks almost like jocote fruits. Nance is an edible fruit native to many parts of Mesoamerica and sold in Mayan village markets of Guatemala and other countries. Nance grows on a small to medium sized tree, Byrsonima crassifolia. Nance is mentioned in the Popol Vuh as food of the mythical macaw-like deity.

In addition to publishing scholarly lists, it is also crucial to publish for children, in a style that children’s patience will encourage them to read. Two of us flew to the largest book fair in Latin America (800,000 people attended this book fair in Guadalajara, Mexico). So our team of 15 graphic designers, illustrators and biology students now have lots of ideas how to present the information on healthy local Mayan plant alternatives to entire families. Yes, we also will have PDFs for students and professors and researchers, but it is equally important to give this information to local people, including in schools, in their own Mayan language, and Spanish.

As soon as funds are available, you can look forward to innovative publication on the frankly remarkable diversity of healthy edible plants native to Guatemala for thousands of years.

 

 

Happy Holidays, December and January New Year

Posted Dec 20, 2016

ethnobotany banner christmas card 20152

FLAAR Reports has two divisions; you are now on one of the web sites of the tropical Mesoamerica flora and fauna team. If you are interested in wide-format inkjet printers, we have an entire network to explain this technology: www.wide-format-printers.org

There is also a growing team of illustrators and graphic designers who do educational children’s books (to show the world the remarkable plants and animals of 2000 years of Mayan civilization in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador).

This holiday card shows four different natural actual colorations of jaguars: normal color, rare but occasional white color, “gray” black, and “total black” (often mistakenly assumed to be a black panther).

The gray and black variants are melanistic jaguars, with one or more genes different than the DNA of the traditional jaguar color. Even in the “solid black” jaguar, the spots still exist and can be seen when the feline is swimming and the sun is at the right angle. Yes, felines love water and love to swim (and chase and eat crocodiles and alligators).

To learn more about animals of the Mayan world, take a look at our www.maya-ethnozoology.org.

To see our newly launched cartoon book web site, look at our
www.mayan-characters-value-based-education.org.
Here you can see a video of Dr Nicholas interacting with a 350 pound tapir and her spotted baby.

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving from FLAAR 2016

Posted Nov 23, 2016

Happy thanksgiving 2016 message from Dr Nicholas FLAAR Reports MQ

Drawing is by two of our team: university graphic design student Mellany and student intern Maria Josefina, copyright 2016 FLAAR.

The ancient Maya of southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala had a turkey species totally different than the North American turkey: the turkey of Guatemala is the ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata).

We show here two felines getting ready to have their yummy turkey feast (there are five species of felines in Guatemala: jaguar, puma, jaguarundi, ocelot, and margay).

We hope you enjoy our thanksgiving day bird feast humor. Don’t worry, we do not eat wild ocellated turkeys; they are protected species.

 

 

 

 

Cecropia flowers and fruit, Guatemala

Posted Jul 21, 2016

In Mesoamerica, Cecropia trees are treated as a junk tree, as a large weed. But these guarumo trees are actually super important for the eco-systems where they grow in Guatemala (and neighboring countries).

Guarumo helps get burned out milpas back to a future forest. Guarumo helps reforest other areas which have been bulldozed and destroyed by commercial greed.

What is a guarumo-2016-FLAAR-Storyboard-Minititle Plus, to help document that a guarumo tree is not a giant weed, we will be issuing a Mayan cartoon comic book character staring Guarumo! First edition is in English; then Spanish, and once funding is available, Q’eqchi’ and other Mayan languages.

Plus, guarumo trees provide food for several mammals and for scores of local birds.

So we are creating a photographic reference archive especially on the flowers and fruits of both species: Cecropia obtusifolia and Cecropia peltata. 90% of the web sites which reproduce snapshots do not label the flowers as to whether they are male or female and so we are not finding it easy to caption our photos, but we wanted to at least show we are studying this very important tree, and we hope to gradually help local people to understand it should be appreciated and not treated as an ant-infested weed!

 

 

 

Plumeria (Flor de Mayo, Frangipani) discovered in Alta Verapaz between Tucuru and La Tinta, Guatemala

Posted May 30, 2016

images/home-images/Plumeria-rubra-Flor-de-Mayo-La-Tinta-Alta-Verapaz-May-28-2016-NH-5539

Click here to zoom



Plumeria-rubra-Flor-de-Mayo-La-Tinta-Alta-Verepaz-May-28-2016-NH-5523

Click here to zoom

We have been doing field trips to find all the different parts of Guatemala where Plumeria grows out in the forests. Most peer-reviewed journals and monographs on plants of Guatemala list the main areas such as the cacti desert along the Rio Motagua. We have found Plumeria growing among cacti overlooking the Rio Sacapulas.

And this weekend we found Plumeria growing on steep high cliffs overlooking the Rio Polochic parallel to the road between Tucuru and La Tinta, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. No cactus plants anywhere.

2000 years ago Plumeria had many uses among the Maya; and 1000 years ago the Aztec used Plumeria for many purposes as well. Today very few indigenous people use Plumeria except as decoration in church-related ceremonies.

 

 

 

SIGGRAPH 2016, for 3D scanning and animation of flowers and plants

Posted May 10, 2016 by Diana Cruz and Vivian Diaz

siggraph2016


3D scanning and 3D imaging are used for many fields. But we at FLAAR Reports are always looking for innovative ways to employ 3D technology.

For example, the team at FLAAR has been working on doing 3D images of all kinds of plants and trees: cacao (chocolate) pods and entire trees. A lot of this work was accomplished by Andrea Mendoza, who attended SIGGRAPH 2015 with Melanny Celeste Quinonez. This year two other Assistant Review Editors will attend both the conferences and the expo in July.

Our purpose is to explain to the world that SIGGRAPH is a great place for students to attend. Everyone at FLAAR Reports is bi-lingual or tri-lingual, but there are plenty of Spanish speaking attendees every day at SIGGRAPH.

Conferences are five educational days, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California.

SIGGRAPH exhibition is 26-28 July.

There are various web sites, one is www.s2016.siggraph.org. We hope to see you there in July.

 

 

 

We continue studies of common medicinal tree, Bursera simaruba

Posted April 6, 2016

There are many species of this tree in different eco-systems of Guatemala. One or more species are common throughout El Peten (which you can see in Parque Nacional Tikal, the Lake Yaxha park, Seibal (Ceibal) archaeological park, etc.

Bursera-simaruba-palo-jiote-bark-Sayache-area-hotel-Posada-Caribe-Arroyo-Petexbatun-medicinal-Mayan-plant-3816  
We have been studying these at Las Guacamayas biological research station (Rio San Pedro)
and at the Hotel Posada El Caribe (Arroyo Petexbatun, Peten).

This common tree is known as Palo jiote, indio desnudo, chaca, palo mulatto, gumbo limbo,
and other local names.

There is also a species which is very common in the dry areas on both sides of highway CA9,
kilometers 60 through 120.
 
Senecio-confusus-Mexican-Flame-Vine-Orangeglow-Maya-Medicinal-Plant-FLAAR  
Senecio Confusus, Mexican Flame Vine

Two more Mayan medicinal plants in our ethnobotanical garden

February 9, 2016

It’s tough to live in Guatemala City, 1500 meters above sea level, with a view of three volcanoes (with one erupting every week or so). The only time we see snow is to watch TV about blizzards hitting US cities. Here we have butterflies, friendly stingless bees (yes, honey bees with no stingers), hummingbirds every day, and lots of flowers.

Last week we noticed that a vine had climbed up our Ceiba pentandra tree (higher than a three-story building even though less than 10 years old!). This vine had orange flowers. Within a week this vine was flowering directly in front of my desk (tough view).

We believe this is Senecio confusus, Mexican Flame Vine (good to attract monarch butterflies). It is used as a traditional medicine by the Mayan and related people as treatment of strokes and muscle aches.

On the other side of the house we have a plant with tiny purple flowers. This is Eupatorium pycnocephalum, used medicinally for stomach pains (including for birth).

Eupatorium-pycnocephalum-FLAAR-garden-Feb-8-2016-Nicholas-Hellmuth-0896  
Eupatorium pycnocephalum, photographed at our garden.
 

Medicinal plants of the Mayan culture: also is toxic, yet edible!

Posted Jan. 27, 2016

Ipomoea-alba-moonflower-morning-glory-mayan-medicinal-plant-FLAAR-Mayan-ethnobotanical-garden 9658

Much to our surprise, Ipomoea alba, Moonflower, is also a medicinal plant. I hope it is included in books on Mayan medicinal plants, but I bet it is missing from many of them.

Ipomoea alba is also toxic: and is missing from Plantas toxicas de Mexico, by Abigail Aguilar and Carlos Zolla’s co-authored monograph on toxic plants.

Ipomoea alba is also edible (in Africa and India) so in theory could be edible in Mesoamerica as well (despite being toxic; many toxic plants are eaten readily). Ipomoea alba is native to Mesoamerica, and introduced to the rest of the world. We raise it in our Mayan ethnobotanical and ethnomedicinal garden (to study the structure of the flower as it opens in the evening).

I just did a TV documentary a few months ago where 66% of the native Maya plants eaten by the gourmet chefs were toxic). Note: it depends which part of the plant you eat. Each part of many plants has chemicals totally different than other parts. However on the TV documentary, I myself ate only flor de pacaya, since I have eaten this for years. But I passed on the other two flowers since one comes from a tree named “mata raton.”

And the other flower was from a palo de pito tree, whose seeds are so toxic they can’t be imported into USA as jewelry (lots of bright colored seeds are used to make necklaces throughout Mesoamerica).

To see the video (which fortunately does not include eating the flowers of Ipomoea alba, since I was not yet aware parts of this plant were edible), here is the link: “El sabor de Mi Tierra - Flores Comestibles de Mesoamérica” in Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/121917491

 

 

Stop-action digital video photography of flowers

Posted January 14, 2016

In order to show how different sizes, shapes, and structures of Neotropical flowers open, we raise native plants of Mesoamerica in our Mayan medicinal and ethnobotanical garden in Guatemala City.

For the last several months we have done dozens of stop-action sequences of the evening opening of Ipomoea alba (Moonflower). This is a vine related to morning glories. Now the passionflowers are blooming, but in the early morning, before the sunrise.

Here is an example of about 90 minutes of photography by Sofia Monzon, assisted by Senaida Ba.

 
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Consulting cacao & Theobroma species

Tobacco Ingredients of Aztec & Maya

Tropical Nuts

Spices, condiments, food coloring

Underutilized edible plants

Plants and trees used to produce incense

Camera Reviews for Photographing Flowers and Plants

Trees with conical Spines

Flowers native to Guatemala visible now around the world

Ethnobotany site page Donations acknowled Botton DONATE NOW

SUBJECTS TO BE COVERED DURING NEXT 6 MONTHS

Fruits (typical misnomer mishmash of Spanish language)

Fruits (vines or cacti)

Flavoring, herbs, and spices

Flowers, sacred

Plants which are sacred

Plants or trees that are used to produce incense

Most common introduced plants (not native)

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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