DixPix Photographs

     

CUBA

 
     
  FLORA  

 

 

Lets start on the practical side.  This is a bamboo thicket.  Imagine having to travel through this stuff for hours at a time.

Click to see big picture (321x480 pixels; 87 KB)
And mangrove roots aren't much better, although happily not on my itinerary. Click to see big picture (340x480 pixels; 106 KB)
While on the beach, the Beach Grape (Uva de la Playa) Coccoloba uvifera are a favorite, providing both fruit and a means of making a (god awful) wine.  Polygonaceae family. Click to see big picture (584x480 pixels; 136 KB)
And here are their flowers, male and female plants are separate.  These plants are found widely on tropical shores. Click to see big picture (591x480 pixels; 98 KB)
More widely accepted as edible, flowers of the Cacao tree are cauliflorus, growing right from the trunks.  The fruit is the source of chocolate. Theobroma cacao, which is now placed in the Malvaceae family. Click to see big picture (447x480 pixels; 85 KB)
Flower of the Mountain Apple (Syzygium malaccense) of the Myrtle family, actually hales from southeast Asia, but was introduced early and widely to the Caribbean.  Related to the oriental rose apple and water apple fruits of Indonesia etc. Click to see big picture (498x480 pixels; 118 KB)
Bitter Melon, Momordica charantia (approx.), a vine of the Cucumber family is widespread in the tropics and edible (vaguely).  It seems to grow wild in Cuba.  For more on this medicinal plant see Peru. Click to see big picture (630x480 pixels; 141 KB)
Another widespread vine goes by the name of Jupulo or Balloon Vine.  These are the pods.  Cardiospermum halicacabum of the Sapindaceae Click to see big picture (640x450 pixels; 129 KB)
The Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus) of the buckwheat family is native to Mexico and the Caribbean.  In eastern Cuba it is common and weedy. Click to see big picture (640x371 pixels; 61 KB)
Known as Peacock Flower or Pride of Barbados, this spectacular flower has Caribbean origins, but is planted around the world.  Caesalpinia pulcherrima of the pea family. Click to see big picture (495x480 pixels; 85 KB)
The Maga Tree is the state flower for Puerto Rico, and by one mode or another has gotten around the Caribbean.  Out of the Mallow family it seems to have two widely accepted latin labels, Montezuma speciosissima or Thespesia grandiflora. Click to see big picture (602x480 pixels; 113 KB)
Another widespread beauty is Pachystachys coccinea of the Acanthaceae.  It is known as the Cardinal's Guard, and related to the more common shrimp plant. Click to see big picture (640x452 pixels; 104 KB)
And then there is 'White Cedar' (Tabebuia heterophylla) a Bignonia.  Perhaps this name is a mis-translation of the native name 'roble blanco', but the flowers aren't white, and it resembles neither a cedar nor a roble.  Another name, 'pink trumpet' is more appropriate, if dull..  It is native to the West Indies.  Click to see big picture (531x480 pixels; 103 KB)
The Chocolate Orchid (Encyclia phoenicea) is also said to be native to Cuba.  The name comes from the truly chocolate smell. Click to see big picture (568x480 pixels; 95 KB)
Then there is Spicy Jatropha, locally Peregrina (Jatropha intergerrima) of the spurge family Click to see big picture (561x480 pixels; 74 KB)
The Cuban Buttercup, (Turnera ulmifolia) is native to both Mexico and the West Indies.  It is of the Turneraceae family. Click to see big picture (416x480 pixels; 88 KB)
Now on to some stranger things.  This plant is known as "pica-pica" (liberally translated as 'ouch!') and said to be a strong nettle. No idea as to the classification. Click to see big picture (640x375 pixels; 113 KB)
And then there is this huge tree cactus standing in the middle of a field.  Meet Dendrocereus nudiflorus, a cuban endemic, which goes by the local name of Aguacate Cimarron. Click to see big picture (373x480 pixels; 92 KB)
And again in the dry lands of eastern Cuba, this is Pilosocereus polygonus which ranges through the northern Caribbean under names such as Key Tree Cactus and Bahama Dildo.  Some prefer to call it P. robinii.
The seeds of the Coralillo (Cojoba rufrescens) are outlandish, and betray their association with the pea family. Click to see big picture (273x480 pixels; 74 KB)
Sicklebush (Dichrostachys cinerea) is an African, but was introduced into Cuba and elsewhere, likely for its varied uses in folk medicine.  Here it is called Marabu, and has proved very invasive, forming thickets.  The tangled pods are nutritious fodder. marabu
Phyllanthus angustifolius is striking, as flowers appear to grow from the leaves.  As with many strange plants, it is of the Euphorbia family.  While a legitimate son of Cuba, this was photographed in the Kew gardens. Click to see big picture (640x334 pixels; 68 KB)
Finally, the national flower of Cuba, known there as Mariposa Blanca, and elsewhere as White Ginger, Hedychium coronarium.  Alas its origin is in southeast Asia, but it is a very pure and lovely flower. mariposa blanca