Category Archives: Neotropics

Wanderlust Tropics: a naturalist journey into Bromeliaceae

Neotropical most iconic plant family! Bromeliads are part of our life in several different ways, especially for those who live on the American continent, where these plants firstly evolved around a hundred millions years ago (Givnish et al. 2011). Doubtless … Continue reading

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Persea americana: Anachronistic Avocado

If you’ve ever bought an avocado, you’ll know it’s one of those fruits which seems to take forever to ripen. Botanically, the fruit of the avocado is actually a berry with a single (very large) seed. Both of these facts are connected to an interesting evolutionary relationship….   … Continue reading

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Pinguicula laueana – a clever little brute in a pretty scarlet-red suit

Although this plant looks quite innocent and harmless with gorgeous red flowers and small, compact leaved rosettes, it ‘eats’ with great appetite little insects using unique, highly sophisticated and efficient traps. Together with the genera Genlisea and Utricularia, Pinguicula belongs … Continue reading

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The world’s most wonderful weed?

During one of my first days of study for a masters degree in Plant Diversity at Reading University, we visited the Tropical Biodiversity Greenhouse. A pungent odour from a very brightly coloured plant came straight to my nose! The plant … Continue reading

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Multi-tasking in the plant kingdom (Araceae)…

Species in the Spathiphyllum genus are members of the monocotyledonous flowering plant family Araceae, often called the arum or aroid family. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas, and southeastern Asia, most commonly in lowland forests where they … Continue reading

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Edible Araceae

Now that winter is on our doorstep, some of us like to think of warmer places. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend December in a tropical country? I like to imagine what a traditional Christmas meal could be in a … Continue reading

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Tillandsia usneoides Spanish Moss

Lacking ideas this Movember? Why not take inspiration from Spanish Moss and the great Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, from whom the plant was thought to originate. Well at least as the legend goes… Apparently Hernando De Soto pursued an Indian maiden through the forest … Continue reading

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Tropical fruit in flower – Pineapple and Banana

Slightly over one year from planting out our Dwarf Cavendish banana is now in full bloom and the female flowers are already beginning to develop their distinct bunches of fruit.  You can see the plant as it looked in September … Continue reading

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Eichhornia crassipes – The ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ of the freshwater world.

Eichhornia crassipes (Water Hyacinth) has a relatively ambivalent place in freshwater habitats. It has become a serious invasive species in many countries, and is one of the world’s most noxious aquatic weeds (Patel, 2012), yet it has been found to … Continue reading

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Brassavola nodosa

A little Introduction The sweetly scented Brassavola nodosa (L.) Lindl. more commonly known as Lady of the Night orchid, belongs to the rather extensive Orchidaceae family, and is part of the Brassavola genus, which contains approximately 21 species. The majority of the Brassavola species grow on … Continue reading

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