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

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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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All four mangrove tree species of Guatemala are in Pacific coastal inland swamp of Manchón Guamuchal

Mangrove tree species in Manchón Guamuchal, Pacific Ocean coast

Swamps are a significant portion of the landscape of Guatemala. I have explored the swamps on the southwest side of Yaxha in the 1970’s, the tinto (Palo de Campeche) swamps of Arroyo Pucte (tributary of Rio de la Pasion, 1970’s into 1990’s), and during the last 10 years have been learning about the diverse kinds of swamps in the CECON preservation area to the north and northwest of Monterrico.

Rhizophora mangle, mangrove tree species, Manchon Guamuchal, Guatemala. Photo by Nicholas Hellmuth

Decades ago I explored the swamps of Tabasco, Campeche, and Quintana Roo, Mexico. You can see the remains of mangrove swamps being taken over by expanding villages in Belize and all parts of Mesoamerica.

This week I ventured into the mangrove swamps of Manchón Guamuchal, west of Champerico, Guatemala. These eco-systems are under the protection of CONAP. Four species of mangrove can be studied here. Here we show the roots of Rhizophora mangle.


Genus species Name in Spanish Name in English Potential use as Trees of Guatemala, Parker 2008
Conocarpus erectus L. Mangle Blanco, Mangle Botoncillo Buttonwood Bark used for tanning animal skins Parker 2008: 175
Laguncularia racemosa (L.) Gaertn., Synonym: Conocarpus racemosa L. Mangle chaparro, Mangle Colorado, Mangle blanco White mangrove Bark used for tanning animal skins Parker 2008: 176
Rhizophora mangle L. Mangle Colorado, mangle rojo Red mangrove House construction, fences, tanning skins, dye colorants; roots edible Parker 2008: 749
Avicennia germinans (L.) Mangle negro Black mangrove Tannin in the bark. Parker 2008: 942


Trees of Guatemala is the most complete single book on the trees of Guatemala: 1033 pages. So if you find it easier not to have to sort through five or more monographs by Standley, Steyermark and co-worker; you can get it all in Parker’s compilation. The difference is that Standley, Steyermark, Williams and their colleagues of the Natural History Museum of Chicago did actual field work, day after day, month after month, year after year. The contribution of Parker is to take all their multiple volumes, plus the work of all other botanists, and copy-and-paste it into one single easy-to-use volume. Downside is there are no citations whatsoever for each species: the sources are mentioned only for the family, at the end of the chapter on the family. One probable reason for zero citations is because it would make the text so ridiculous and for all the trees would add so many dozens of pages that the book would be too heavy to carry.

But nowadays, with Google, after you know the scientific name, and which one of the Chicago monographs the trees are in, you can find what she copied from on the Internet. For Mangrove trees it would be Standley and Williams 1962, Fieldiana: Botany, Vol. 24, Part VII, No. 2, pp. 187-281.

Not a peep about the root size, shape, structure!

Parker’s book on Trees of Guatemala is the best single research for tree research. But it is 90% copy-and-paste from Standley, Steyermark, etc. So there is not one word about the impressive root structures of any mangrove species. So I would like to illustrate the remarkable roots of one of the species of mangrove trees in the Manchón Guamuchal area.

Where to stay to visit Manchón Guamuchal?

Lots of hotels in Retalhuleu. Did not check Champerico. Downside is that by the time you have breakfast and drive all the way to Manchón Guamuchal you will miss the early morning birding hours.

There is one hotel at Manchon, Casa Mar Azul, but since it was sold out we stayed in the village of Chico, in a local posada. This reminded me of my backpacking days half a century ago. Everyone was pleasant, but if you need a fancy hotel, then reserve earlier to stay on the coast. There is no way to get your car to Chico; you park it at Manchon and then take a boat to Chico. Everyone in Chico is friendly and pleasant. The thousand-year old style of domestic architecture of Chico is an experience you will not get in Paris or London.

Additional information on Mangrove species in Municipio de Livingston

Since 2020 we have been accomplishing monthly ethnobotanical and botanical field work in the Municipio de Livingston. While doing library research I was pleasantly surprised to learn that in other areas of the Americas that both black mangrove and red mangrove had edible parts.

We will be publishing new web pages on these species in coming months of 2021.

Most recently updated: July 10, 2021
First Posted February 7, 2018


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