Category Archives: Neotropics

Manihot glaziovii & Manihot esculenta – Two shrubs with history

There are 98 known species of Manihot which are native to the neotropics, between Arizona and Argentina according to Rogers and Appan (1973). Manihot (often referred to as Cassava) are in the Euphorbiaceae family, also known as the spurge family, which contains 300 genera, and … Continue reading

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Tradescantia spathacea – Moses in a basket

Tradescantia spathacea (also known as Rhoeo spathacea and Rhoeo discolor) has the common name Moses-in-a-Basket due to the shape of the bract arounf the inflorescences.  This distinctive Mexican species has dark green upper surfaces to the leaves and a bright … Continue reading

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Canna iridiflora – Peruvian canna

The largest of the two species of the genus Canna in the display is Canna iridiflora and differs by having pendant flowers.  This species originates from Peru, Colombia and Costa Rica. It has the ability to grow to double the … Continue reading

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Canna indica – Indian shot

This is one of the two species of Canna in the display. Despite being called Indian shot this species originates from the South Americas and Caribbean. It’s name comes from the resemblance that it’s small hard seeds have to shotgun … Continue reading

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Ananas comosus – Pineapple

The pineapple is a species of bromeliad (Bromeliaceae), a family naturally confined to the Americas.  It arrived in Britain as aprt of the Colombian exchange and became a highly prized fruit that was grown is special heated frames.  Nowadays it … Continue reading

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Lantana camara (Orange)

This is one of two plants of Lantana camara currently grown in the glasshouse.  It was supplied as a commercial ornamental in the form of a small rooted cutting in a 5cm pot.  It has since grown substantially and flowered … Continue reading

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Water Hyacinth

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a floating plant that can be used to clean up water by accumulation of toxic metals and by capturing free nutrients from the water. In good conditions it grows very rapidly and can clog river systems … Continue reading

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Calathea lutea – Pampano, Cachibou, Cigar Plant

I met Calathea lutea (Aubl.) Meyer ex Koernicke for the first time today while on a visit to the Living Rainforest.  This impressive member of the Marantaceae is 2-3m high with silver backed leaves.  These large leaves are used for wrapping … Continue reading

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