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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Seed pods (capsules, beans) of wild vanilla orchid vines

Posted December 2, 2020

The Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, has lots of wild vanilla orchid vines growing in many areas. We find these vines in swamps at sea level (south inlet of east end of El Golfete portion of Rio Dulce); we find wild vanilla orchid vines on karst hills elsewhere in Izabal. And now a helpful park ranger of Tapon Creek nature reserve, managed by FUNDAECO, has sent us photos of the seed pods, the capsules or beans of these wild vanilla orchid vines.

econferencias-Biodiversidad-de-Livingston-Izabal-FLAAR-Mesoamerica-2020

Photograph by Lucas Cuz, park ranger, FUNDAECO, Tapon Creek nature reserve, using Google Pixel telephone camera provided by FLAAR (USA) and FLAAR Mesoamerica (Guatemala).

We are rushing out to the Caribbean today since this is a remarkable opportunity to learn from the local Q’eqchi’ Mayan park rangers. We need to learn in how many different months do these vines bloom? In how many different months can you see the seed pods.

You can also find lots of wild vanilla orchid vines in many areas of Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo, (PNYNN), Peten. The family of Senaida Ba Mucu, has found wild vanilla orchids in the mountains of Alta Verapaz near Chipemech (between Senahu and Cahabon). We of FLAAR have photographed these vines here and in the many areas of PNYNN and all around the Municipio de Livingston, Izabal. But never have we seen them flowering in the wild.

So clearly the Classic Maya of thousands of years ago had plenty of vanilla for flavoring their cacao beverages.

We show the photos of the flower buds on home page of www.maya-archaeology.org.

 


 

 

Tree Trunks of the Neotropical Rainforest

Posted November 30, 2020

SAVING EARTH Magazine, Winter 2020, is now available, with an article by Nicholas Hellmuth, FLAAR Mesoamerica, on TREE TRUNK ECOSYSTEMS

pp. 58-62, with one additional page (page 63) on FLAAR (USA) and FLAAR Mesoamerica (Guatemala).

 


 

 

First Virtual Course: Native Plants of Guatemala

Posted October 28, 2020

In the virtual course "Native plants of Guatemala" (Plantas Nativas de Guatemala, in Spanish, -PNG) you can learn generalities of plants and their different uses, both in the Mayan culture and today.

It is divided into 5 modules every Saturday from October 24th to November 21th of this year, from 10:00AM to 11:30AM (Guatemala schedule) and it's completely FREE. We are having special guests and learning activities. Do not miss it!

You can find more information by entering here:

Also you can find the whole virtual course here:

 


 

 

Photo Essays "Encuéntralo en Livingston"

Posted October 28, 2020

Find it in Livingston: Water Lilies Paradise

First virtual presentation of FLAAR Mesoamerica Photo Essays. The actual sacred water lily flowers (depicted in classical Mayan art) can be photographed on both sides of El Golfete, on both sides of the boat, on the tour by the inlets along the El Golfete, portion of Río Dulce, inlet to Lago Izabal and the Atlantic Ocean, Izabal in Guatemala. Nymphaea ampla and Nymphoides indica along the fresh waters from El Golfete.

On September 22, 2020, during the virtual launch of our three Photo Essays, we chatted with professionals and the audience interested in nature, specially interested about this peculiar lily and the experience in the expedition in Livignston, Izabal. This event is thanks to the support of the Municipality of Livingston and the FLAAR Mesoamerica team.

 

Or also you can watch it here:
https://youtu.be/7_L3V23JBeg

 


 

 

Manicaria saccifera, confra palm, found only in coastal Izabal

Posted October 23, 2020

Peten and Alta Verapaz are palm paradise areas of Guatemala, but it turns out that there is a popular palm species, Manicaria saccifera, confra palm, that is found in Guatemala ONLY in salt water and brackish water coastal areas of the Municipio de Livingston and adjacent parts of coastal Izabal, Guatemala.

More info on our Manicaria saccifera, confra palm web page.

 


 

 

Passionflowers of healthy edible fruits native to Guatemala

Posted September 3, 2020

Guatemala is a living botanical garden of every habitat you can imagine from cloud forests to seasonal rain forests to the totally different dry cactus-covered hills along Rio Motagua and Rio Sacapulas. Plus the Pacific Ocean water lily lagoons of Monterrico and of Arroyo Pucté in Sayaxché. And the photogenic heliconia-filled fields of the Caribbean areas of Rio Dulce.

If you like tropical flowers, a location I recommend visiting is Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo. We (FLAAR Mesoamerica research teams in Guatemala) found different sizes, shapes, and floors of passionflower vines in the remarkable biodiverse ecosystems of the park. So we now have a new web page to show you samples.

Local registered guides in Peten can explain which flowers are blooming in which months (since every month is different, and every ecosystem has different flowers: savanna, riverside, lakeside, hilltop, tintal, etc.).

I have traveled to all the main popular destinations around the world, but my heart and soul are in the Peten, Alta Verapaz, and Izabal areas of Guatemala. As soon as the airports are open, I will be flying back south to explore and find more plants. We thank Passiflora botanist Dr John MacDougal for helping us identify the species of passionflower vines.

 


 

 

3 New Publications on Water lilies of Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala

Posted August 6, 2020

Nymphaea ampla is a water lily I have been studying throughout Guatemala in rivers and lakesides since the 1970’s. But Nymphoides indica is a tiny flowered water lily that I have not previously noticed. We found thousands of this Nymphoides indica along the sides of lagoons and inlets of El Golfete part of Rio Dulce, Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala during our field trip in mid-March 2020.

So we are now presenting one photo album on Nymphaea ampla and two photo albums and bibliography on Nymphoides indica of the same area.

Further research is needed: where else is Nymphoides indica found in Guatemala, Belize, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas? Does Nymphoides indica prefer brackish water? A bit of salt water from the Caribbean flows into El Golfete, as do Bull Sharks and other creatures from the Caribbean Sea. But if Nymphoides indica is found in Peten, this means it can grow readily without brackish water.

Is a part of Nymphoides indica edible? And how can we find documentation from Aztec, Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya or other ethnohistorical or ethnobotanical studies that Nymphoides indica is or was indeed consumed by people of Mesoamerica. So far there is no evidence (that I yet know of) that this miniature-flowered water lily is a narcotic as is the larger Nymphaea ampla.

Equally crucial, is Nymphoides indica a plant that was present in Mesoamerica before the arrival of the Spaniards? Or, like many plants in wetlands, did it escape from gardens and spread into streams and lakes?

 


 

 

Ferns and Fern allies to be discovered and documented around Livingston

Posted June 26, 2020

Any area of the world with the tropical temperatures and rainfall of the moist portions of Guatemala will have lots of ferns and fern allies. Normally we (FLAAR, USA and FLAAR Mesoamerica, Guatemala) study trees, bushes, vines and lianas, algae, and lichens. But since we are evolving into studying wetlands and also treetop ecosystems, we will be finding lots of ferns and their relatives.

We found an entire seasonally inundated “Savanna of 3 Fern Species” at the northwest edge of Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo last year. We will now be looking for unique biodiverse ecosystems in the wetlands of the Municipio de Livingston: swamps, marshes, seasonally inundated flatlands, etc. Lots will have terrestrial ferns that prefer to grow in wet areas. So around the photogenic bogs alongside Rio Dulce and inlets and lagoons especially on the north side of El Golfete we will be looking for Acrostichum danaeifolium, giant leather ferns, also known as mangrove ferns.

Plus, up in the tall trees, ferns love to grow on tree limbs. Ericka Garcia and Boris Llamas, of UVG, are very experienced and adept at rappelling up into treetops to study what’s up there.

So once the Coronavirus epidemic has subsided we look forward to finding lots of ferns and fern allies along the Rio Dulce and all the other rivers, lakes, and hills of this part of Izabal, Guatemala, Central America.

 


 

 

Plants of the dry forest corridors of Guatemala, Central America

Posted June 18, 2020

The-Seasonally-Dry-Forest-of-Guatemala-Jiichiro-Yoshimoto-and-Daniel-Ariano-2017-Heloderma-recien-nacido-Junto-a-Cactus-en-la-Reserva-Natuaral-Heloderma

El Bosque Estacionalmente Seco de Guatemala: Flora, Fauna y Cultura This book has dozens of chapters, including: Flora, Insectos, Arácnidos, Anfibios, Reptiles, Aves and Mamíferos. So covers Insects, Arachnids, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals in addition to plants. Editors:

  • Jiichiro Yoshimoto, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
  • Daniel Ariano-Sánchez, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Centro de Estudios Ambientales y Biodiversidad

183 pages, published by Serviprensa in 2017 which means the information is pertinent and relevant. Information from past decades definitely also continues to be useful, but it helps to have recent documentation also.

My first experience with the corridor de bosque seco parallel to the Rio Motagua was when I took a train from Guatemala City to Quirigua (probably in 1963 or 1964). The train was still in full operation then. Then in the 1970’s, I drove back and forth to do mapping of Yaxha (Peten) year after year after year (so saw the bosque seco out of both sides of my window).

In 2015 I did research on where Plumeria could be found, wild, in Guatemala, so I made several field trips to the dry area parallel to the Rio Sacapulas.

And driving to Copan Ruinas in Honduras I have passed through dry areas of Zacapa every decade since the 1960’s. Since in the 1960’s there were no buses on the final segment to get to the border, I would hitch a ride on top of a cargo truck (so you got a great view; and it cost less than even a 3rd class bus).

I am really curious about Ceiba aesculifolia, so frequently, year after year, stop to study this the flowers in the evening and the kapok in later months. I am very sad that this May, 2020, it is no longer possible to study the kapok production (which is in May and June for Ceiba aesculifolia on the hills overlooking the Motagua River below). It is not possible to reach the bosque seco area due to highways being closed for Coronavirus spread prevention; no one is allowed to travel from one departamento to another (so we have not done field work since finishing our last field trip (in the Municipio de Livingston, Izabal) on March 15th, 2020).

As soon as it is possible to fly back to Guatemala I will read this book from cover to cover. We thank Dr. Yoshimoto for donating a copy to FLAAR Mesoamerica. We thank Victor Mendoza for receiving the book on our behalf so we can all read it later.

 


 

 

A “tasistal” is a remarkable ecosystem in Guatemala

Posted May 21, 2020

Tasiste palms, Acoelorrhaphe wrightii, grow in clusters; a cluster is perhaps 11 or more stems (trunks) physically next to each other growing from a single root mass. A seasonally inundated savanna could have dozens of clusters. The Savanna East of Nakum had perhaps 100 clusters; the Savanna West of Naranjo had a dozen or so clusters; the Savanna of 3 Fern Species (far west of end of Lake Yaxha and then uphill to a plateau) had a few clusters. Since it takes many hours to hike back and forth, and since camping overnight is not recommended or permitted, no one has yet made complete lists what species of plants are in the rectangular section of this savanna area; we had time to explore only parts of the circular area; much of which is a bog; much has a meter of water plus mud even at the height of the dry season of a really dry year.

A tasistal with tasiste palm trees has maybe 50,000 clusters or 70,000 clusters (we estimate a single tasistal can have up to 1,000,000 stems (in lay person’s terms, almost one million palm trunks). Each stem is a complete tree; just that lots of stems grow next to each other from one circular root mass. Stem is a technical botanical term: they are individual tree trunks of a tasiste palm.

We now have four reports for you to experience this remarkable ecosystem.

Click to Download

Click to Download

Tasistal Arroyo Petexbatun, photos of Acoelorrhaphe wrightii palms from ground level

Tasistal Arroyo Faisan, photos of Acoelorrhaphe wrightii palms from ground level

Click to Download

Click to Download

Tasistal Arroyo Petexbatun, drone photos of Acoelorrhaphe wrightii palms

Tasistal Arroyo Faisan, drone photos of of Acoelorrhaphe wrightii palms

We appreciate Julian Mariona for telling us about these tasistal areas and the local Sayaxche area guides who took is to Arroyo Faisan and we appreciate the permission of the land owners to visit and study these areas.

Another place to study Acoelorrhaphe wrightii palms is in the Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala. Here we have not (yet) found any savannas; the Acoelorrhaphe wrightii palms here are called pimientilla, and are along the edges of rivers, creeks, and lagoons. The Livingston area Acoelorrhaphe wrightii palms we will publish in June.

 


 
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Botanical Terms

Ecosystems, Wetlands Aquatic Plants

Smartphone Camera Reviews

Fungi and Lichens

Consulting cacao & Theobroma species

Tobacco Ingredients of Aztec & Maya

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)

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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