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

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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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


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.



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




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.).



















Haematoxylum laceolatum


Haematoxylum campechianum laceolatum

Source: CABI, n.d.


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.


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.




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.











Pithecellobium laceolatum

Botanical description:


Reaches up to 15 m in height.


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


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


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


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


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


Pivoting deep and strong.



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


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


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


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


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


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.











Psychotria poeppigiana


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

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Parque Nacional Yaxha, Nakum and Naranjo

Smartphone Camera Reviews

Fungi and Lichens

Botanical Terms

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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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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