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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FLAAR Mesoamerica team at Lagunita Creek Nature Reserve

Posted December 23, 2020

Here is the FLAAR Mesoamerica team at Lagunita Creek Nature Reserve, nicely managed by FUNDAECO. The boat owner and operator are in the boat. Haniel (in red shirt) is piloting the registered drone that took this photo. The rest of the team is having lunch break.

At each nature reserve we make notes of which edible, usable, or curious plants we find (especially those flowering this week). We then extensively photograph each flower, fruit, etc. There are five photographers in this team.




Happy Holidays from FLAAR Mesoamerica Team

Posted December, 2020

Happy Holidays! Our very best wishes to you this festive season. May 2021 bring you peace, joy and prosperity. From all staff members of FLAAR Mesoamerica.





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.


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:




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.


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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

Ethnobotany site page Donations acknowled Botton DONATE NOW


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

4x4 Pickup Truck Reviews, Evaluations and Suggestions

Tikal Related Reports


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