Category Archives: Palaeotropics

Aframomum melegueta (Grains of paradise) is not Alligator pepper part 2

This gallery contains 7 photos.

 “I put a few between my teeth and crunched. They cracked like coriander releasing a billowing aroma, and then a slowly intensifying heat, like pepper at the back of my mouth. The taste changes in a second. The heat lingered. … Continue reading

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Starfruit: food, healer, domestic cleaner and much more

Averrhoa carambola L., the starfruit is one of those strange and unique products that come from the east of Asia, with its funny shape and curious flavours, which you can love or hate, it is beggining to appear broadly in … Continue reading

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Thunbergia alata, the well traveled climber.

Thunbergia alata, commonly known as the Black Eyed Susan vine, is a climbing vine from the Acanthaceae family (Heywood et al, 2007)1, which produces large showy yellow flowers with a black spot in the centre. These large bright flowers and … Continue reading

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Cyatheaceae: The Scaly Tree Ferns

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Commonly known as the scaly tree ferns, Cyatheaceae are a clade of ca. 600 plant species within a group of plants known as the monilophytes or ferns (Smith et al. 2006). All ferns are spore-bearing and share a highly distinctive … Continue reading

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Piperaceae – the Pepper family

Introducing Piperaceae Piperaceae is commonly known as the pepper family.  The name Piperaceae comes from the Sanskrit ‘pippali’ which also gave rise to the Greek ‘peperi’, the Latin ‘piper’ and the English ‘pepper’. Originally this referred to Piper longum, the … Continue reading

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Musaceae – GIANT HERBS not trees!

When we talk about plants and people, the “Banana family” or Musaceae is one of the prominent ones. Although it has a long history and prominent role in human and wildlife diet, the puzzle of the origin and evolutionary theory … Continue reading

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A look into the Carnivorous world- Nepenthaceae

“The pitchers of Nepenthes possesses extraordinary power of digestion” … “The fact that a plant should secrete, when properly excited, a fluid containing an acid and ferment, closely analogous to the digestive fluid of an animal, was certainly a remarkable … Continue reading

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Pandanus amaryllifolius – The only Pandanus with fragrant leaves

P. amaryllifolius is one of the plants that is capable of evoking nostalgic memories of South-East Asian life solely by its scent. Pandanaceae is a paleotropical monocot family that comprises 4 genera (ie. Pandanus, Freycinetia, Martellidendron and Sararanga). Pandanus is … Continue reading

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Water Lettuce

A member of the Araceae, Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) is a problem floating plant of tropical waterways.  The native origin and spread of the species is not known but it has been recorded in both the New and Old World … Continue reading

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Angiopteris evecta – Giant Elephant Fern

The King Fern or Giant Elephant fern is a native of the palaeotropics famous for the large size of the individual fronds it produces.  Over much of the natural range the species is sporadic but not rare but in tropical … Continue reading

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