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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Introduction to Mammals and the 5 Felines in Guatemala

Posted May 23, 2022

Do you want to know more about the mammals and the five felines of Guatemala? These conferences are what you were looking for.

Sign up here to receive the ZOOM link:

We are waiting for you on Wednesday May 25th and Thursday May 26th via Facebook Live or ZOOM at 6:00 pm (Guatemala Time). *CONFERENCE FOR ALL PUBLIC.

Exhibitors:

  • MSc. Pilar Negreros - Knowing the Mammals
  • Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth - The five felines of the Mayan Culture: Attributes and physical differences.

Moderators:

  • Vivian Hurtado
  • Victor Mendoza

Organized by: FLAAR Mesoamerica, MayanToons and FLAAR USA

 

 


 

 

Edible vanilla orchids grows wild throughout the Maya Lowlands and Maya Highlands

Posted May 20, 2022

Between the decades 1930’s to 2000, I estimate that more than half the botanical “identifications” of wild vanilla as Vanilla fragrans or accepted name today, Vanilla planifolia, are incorrect. How can vanilla vines be identified precisely if there is no complete flower? When crushed, flattened, and dried not as much detail remains. For these reasons we do photography of the flowers. Snag is that a vine flowers only about two weeks and each flower is open only about 3 hours. People we know in Peten tell us they know the vanilla orchid vines but have never seen them flower in 50 years of being in Peten. Our guide said he has been trying to find them flowering the last four years. In May 2022 our FLAAR field work research team found Vanilla insignis orchids flowering on three vines (two in PNYNN and one about 50 kilometers to the west). We thank Guatemalan orchid specialist Fredy Archila for identifying the flowers that we sent by WhatsApp the day we found them.

The FLAAR team has many years experience finding wild vanilla orchid vines in Alta Verapaz, Izabal, and Peten. But to find one flowering out in a remote area is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In 2023 we will return and find-and-photograph more now that we know where and when they flower (keeping in mind that the rainfall and temperatures vary every year).

If you are a botanist, ethnobotanist, be sure to have a permit from CONAP to do field work in any national park, plus permit from the co-administration of the park. FLAAR has a 5-year permit (2021-2025) of cooperation and coordination for flora, fauna, and ecosystem fieldwork for the entire 21,000 square kilometers (over 5-million acres) of the whole Reserva de la Biosfera Maya. FLAAR specializes in macro photography of insects and details of flowers plus video, panorama and aerial drone photography of ecosystems. Since we have been doing field work for many decades we know the local guides and local people in the villages.

 


 

 

Bignonia binata flowers unexpectedly found at ground level

Posted May 19, 2022

In early May we found a tower of flowers growing out of the side of the liana. So we all stopped to take lots of photographs. Here are a few samples. This is a large liana, a thick woody vine. It climbs high into the tree tops so you rarely even see any leaves. To find this liana on the ground with a spire of flowers in full bloom was unexpected.

Everyone suggests it is Bignonia binata. But Kew says that species is: Amazonia, Caribbean, Orinoquia, Pacific. Elevation range: 0–540 m a.s.l. Native to Colombia. Colombian departments: Amazonas, Antioquia, Atlántico, Caquetá, Chocó, Meta, Nariño, Putumayo, Santander, Sucre, Valle del Cauca, Vaupés, Vichada. (https://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/108602-1).
So NOT listed for Guatemala; but a synonym, Adenocalymma ocositense, is listed for Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
(https://serv.biokic.asu.edu/neotrop/plantae/collections/list.php).

So has the FLAAR Mesoamerica team found and photographed and published a plant not yet documented for Peten? Need to check all the herbaria of Guatemala which are not yet on-line.

 


 

 

Unexpected Aspect of Grassland Savanna #10, Peten, Guatemala

Posted May 17, 2022

We are preparing about seven videos on different biodiverse aspects of habitats within PNLT Savanna #10. The second video is on the several unexpected and unexplained circular areas within this savanna. What causes the difference in color of the soil in these circular areas? Why do different plants grow inside the area and other plants grow outside? Did the Classic Maya modify the surface of this savanna over a thousand years ago? There is no milpa agriculture or any modern agricultural use of this savanna presently because it is inside Parque Nacional Laguna del Tigre (PNLT).

A subsequent video (later this month) will show all the rectangular areas in several areas of the same Savanna #10.


Shows the corridor between the east end of Savanna #10 and the nearby west end of Savanna #11.


View of several round areas with soil color or vegetation totally different than surrounding part of the Savanna #10.

Written by Nicholas Hellmuth

 


 

 

Typha domingensis seed rain

Posted May 16, 2022

Typha-domingensis-seed-rain

Photo by Roxana Leal, April 8th 2022. Cañón de Río Dulce. (Typha domingensis)

Searching in the internet we were able to see videos of how Typha, when ripe, takes out something similar to cotton and flies through the air. We wanted to see it with our own eyes at some point.

When leaving one of the rivers where we documented Grias cauliflora, we could observe Typha and there was just one of these plants already mature. Dr. Nicholas decided to investigate and when he opened it his "cotton" began to come out and fly through the air. It was very nice to see this!

Typha domingensis is classified as an emergent rooted aquatic microphyte, since it is rooted at the bottom of water bodies and its stem blades and inflorescence emerge from the water. This plant reproduces by its rhizome and the propagation of its flying seeds. It inhabits fresh and brackish inland waters.

Typha spp. it has a high economic potential since fiber is extracted from this plant for the manufacture of fabrics. It also has a high ecological importance, due to the fact that, in some bodies of water, this plant is introduced to control the excess of nutrients that can accelerate eutrophication processes. But, the introduction of this plant in bodies of water needs to be careful since its reproduction and propagation can accelerate too fast because its rhizomes and its vast seed bank in the soil (Hall, 2008).

 

Typha-domingensis-seed-rain Typha-domingensis-seed-rain_IMG_0010d

Photo by Alejandra Gutiérrez, March 2021, Cánon D1. Río Cáliz. Inflorescence of Typha domingensis.

Photo by Victor Mendoza. May 2nd 2021. Sory RX100 Underwater. Lago Petén Itza, El Remate. Example of a rooted Typha domingensis.

Bibliography

 

Written by Lic. Roxana Leal & Ing. Victor Mendoza
Bibliography by Ing. Victor Mendoza
Photographs by Lic. Roxana Leal, Alejandra Gutiérrez & Ing. Victor Mendoza

 


 

 

Sawgrass Savannas, traditional Low Grass Savannas, PNLT, RBM, Peten

Posted April 28, 2022

During 2021 and 2022 the team of FLAAR (USA) and FLAAR Mesoamerica (Guatemala) have been focused on finding savannas from satellite images and then figuring out how to find these savannas so we could hike to each one.

Here is an aerial photo by Haniel Lopez from the FLAAR drone DJI Mavic 2 Pro that shows how many savannas are in the southeast part of the Parque Nacional Laguna del Tigre (PNLT). We have found 35 savannas so far (and over 70 savannas a hundred kilometers to the east, outside the PNLT). Our project is 5-years of cooperation and coordination with CONAP for the entire Reserva de la Biosfera Maya (RBM), Peten, Guatemala.

Written by Nicholas Hellmuth

 


 

 

Achievements:
Livingston Biodiversity Documentation

Posted March 15, 2022

We are pleased to share with you our invitation to deliver the results of our project: "Livingston Biodiversity Documentation" where you can learn a little more about the project and the achievements obtained by our team.

This presentation will be in Spanish starting 6 PM on Thursday, 17 March.

 


 

 

Water bodies in the Biotopo Protegido San Miguel La Palotada El Zotz

Posted March 10, 2022

Very close to the Zotz camp you can find a watering hole in the southern part. The aquatic plants that prevail are the Lechuguilla de agua (Pistia stratiotis); Lentejas de agua (Lemna sp.) and (Salvinia sp.) lettuce had a very small white flower.

Everything together creates a very beautiful landscape. On the shore you can see a Zapotón, Pachira aquatica, which we have photographed in large numbers in the Municipality of Livingston, but you can hardly see it in Petén.

Aguada Lechuguilla – El Zotz

Aguada Lechuguilla – El Zotz. Drone Photo by Haniel López. February 17th

At least an hour by car from the first camp of the biotope you can reach the entrance of another of the watering holes of this site, in which if you are lucky you can see crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii). Then you can go to the Laguna El Palmar, which is a bit complicated to observe, since there is a lot of vegetation growing around it. The team is prepared so we have a ladder which allowed us to have a better view of the place.

According to SIGAP (s.f.) “On the shore of the El Palmar lagoon the oldest occupation was found, where small human groups took advantage of the abundance of natural resources. For more than 900 years they developed their settlement, with an Astronomical Commemoration Complex and a Triadic group, both decorated with masks. In the year 100 A.D. the political headquarters moved to the top of the limestone escarpment, in search of defensive spaces.”

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

 


 

 

Documentation tour of the Río Ixtinto

Posted March 4, 2022

In February we documented species in Río Ixtinto, within the Parque Nacional Yaxha, Nakum y Naranjo. Our main objective was to photograph the blooms of Palo de Tinto or Palo de Campeche (Haematoxylum campechianum). This tree is native to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. It was an important source for extracting red, blue and black dyes, but in addition to its dye use, it is also used for restoration, forage, firewood, ornamental planting and it is a honey species (Red de Viveros de Biodiversidad, s.f.).

Taxonomy:

Domain

Eukaryota

Kingdom

Plantae

Phylum

Spermatophyta

Subphylum

Angiospermae

Class

Dicotyledonae

Order

Fabales

Family

Fabaceae

Subfamily

Caesalpinioideae

Genus

Haematoxylum laceolatum

Species

Haematoxylum campechianum laceolatum

Source: CABI, n.d.

ALT

Haematoxylum campechianum Palo de Campeche or Palo de Tinto. PNYNN - Río Ixtinto. Photo by Edwin Solares. February 14th

During the tour we did not find as many flowers as we expected, but it was different from the previous months. On this occasion the weather has been a bit cold and rainy so the River was fuller and wider, we took some pictures with a Drone which allowed us to see that the Río Ixtinto is linked to the Julequito Lagoon in this season.

We saw several birds flying along the river bank like a Kingfisher and two woodpeckers, this was cute and curious on Valentine's Day.

Tour-rio-ixtinto

Haematoxylum campechianum Palo de Campeche or Palo de Tinto. PNYNN - Río Ixtinto. Photo by Edwin Solares. February 14th

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

 


 

 

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.

 


 
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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

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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