DixPix Photographs

     

TROPICAL CENTRAL AMERICA

 
     
  Flora-  BIGNONIA FAMILY  

 

Bignoniaceae is generally known as the Trumpet Creeper Family, which nicely emphasizes that most of its species have attractive trumpet-shaped flowers, and many are vines or lianas.   Others would prefer to name it after the Jacarandas, or simply the Bignonia Family.  Its roughly 700 species occur in tropical and semi-tropical climates around the world, but most are neotropical.  Their main use is for decoration as a result of those showy flowers.

 

Yes, its Tecoma Stans.  Widely planted, and widely escaped, it is somewhere between a landscaping favorite and a neotropical weed.  The honey made from these flowers is said to be poisonous. Click to see big picture (640x463 pixels; 112 KB)
With its classic flowers and jagged-edge leaves, Tecoma stans is usually known as Yellow Trumpet Bush or Yellow Bells in English.  Esperanza is one of the terms used in Latin America. Click to see big picture (597x480 pixels; 88 KB)
Tecoma stans var. velutina has similar flowers, but less jagged leaves.  I believe this example from Mexico is it.  The long, drooping beans of the species are also shown here. Click to see big picture (464x480 pixels; 94 KB)
A very attractive tree in Bogota, Columbia.  The flowers look like some species of Tabebuia, but the leaves are not palmate. Click to see big picture (640x430 pixels; 111 KB)
Tabebuia aurea is known as the Caribbean Trumpet Tree, which is an indication of how widely it has been planted, as it is of Amazonian origin.  Here it is in the botanical garden at Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Click to see big picture (640x467 pixels; 77 KB)
The Pink Trumpet Tree, Tabebuia rosea, is native from Mexico to Ecuador and Venezuela.  It is a large tree, and known as Roble de Sabana (savannah oak), although of no relation to oaks.  Click to see big picture (579x480 pixels; 81 KB)
In Latin America, Tabebuia rosea is also referred to as Palo de Rosa, and is the national tree of El Salvador, where they call it Maquilishuat.  A favorite for decorating city streets and parks. Click to see big picture (640x361 pixels; 76 KB)
The other Pink Trumpet Tree is Tabebuia impetiginosa, which is now found throughout the Neotropics, often under the name Pink Lapacho.  The term lapacho is used for a medicinal tea made from the inner bark.  The wood of Tabebuia trees is also prized, often under the Brazilian name of Ipe. Click to see big picture (619x480 pixels; 106 KB)
The most widely planted Jacaranda is J. mimosifolia, and this is likely it.  There are 49 species in the genus, mainly with blue flowers, but mimosifolia has cornered the name of Blue Jacaranda.  It is now pantropical from South America. Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 115 KB)
Jacaranda caucana as seen in Panama.  It is native from here to Venezuela, but has been planted more widely.  A local name Gualanday is used, but is not specific to this species.  The seed pods are also shown. Click to see big picture (640x443 pixels; 119 KB)
The oversized fruit of the Calabash, Crescentia cujete, can be found throughout much of Central and South America.  Referred to as Totumo in places, its huge pods are used for making bowls. Click to see big picture (618x480 pixels; 95 KB)
Often less round, Crescentia alata is known as the Mexican Calabash, although its range extends for Mexico to Costa Rica.  The local name is Jicaro, and its seeds are used to make a traditional drink. Click to see big picture (640x420 pixels; 137 KB)
In Nicaragua, traditional cups to go with the traditional Jicaro seed drink, which goes by the name of Horchata de Jicaro. Click to see big picture (385x480 pixels; 80 KB)
Amphitecna latifolia hugs the coastlines through most of Mesoamerica, especially the Caribbean.  It is referred to by names such as Black Calabash and Calabacito. Click to see big picture (640x446 pixels; 103 KB)
The flower of Amphitecna latifolia is also worthy of a photo, here on an island off the coast of Panama. Click to see big picture (603x480 pixels; 87 KB)
Kigelia africana, as its name would suggest, is native to Africa, and this photo is from Malawi.  It claims many local folk medicine uses, but has been planted on other parts of the tropics due to its attractive flowers and those huge fruit which gives it the name of Sausage Tree.  In Mesoamerica it is known as Arbol Salchichon. sausage tree
The Candle Tree or Arbol de Velas (Parmentiera cereifera) is endemic to Panama, here at Summit Park in the Canal Zone.  These are not beans, they are fleshy fruit, basically an elongated berry, and edible when they ripen to a yellow color.
Many still call Mansoa hymenaea, Pachyptera hymenaea.  By whatever name, it is a woody vine with a garlic odor which is native from southern Mexico to Ecuador. Click to see big picture (564x480 pixels; 135 KB)
A closer look at the flowers of Mansoa hymenaea.  It is widely known as the Garlic Vine but there is at least one other species with this name.  The local term is Josmeca. Click to see big picture (487x480 pixels; 60 KB)
Adenocalymma comosum, belongs in the Amazon region of Brazil, but is a popular flowering vine here in Panama City, and elsewhere.  A good way to cover anything vertical.  Click to see big picture (640x425 pixels; 122 KB)
The Cat's Claw Vine (or Creeper), has gone from neotropical to pantropical and is invasive in many places.  It has had dozens of latin names, with Dolichandra unguis-cati favored at the moment, although many prefer the Macfadyena genus. Click to see big picture (296x480 pixels; 62 KB)
Xylophragma seemannianum is a long handle for this mesoamerican liana.  Locally the name Pie de Gallo (rooster foot) is common. Click to see big picture (640x349 pixels; 83 KB)
Paragonia pyramidata is widespread in the Neotropics.  Photo from near Baez, Ecuador.
Also widespread is Arrabidaea (or Fridericia) corallina, a vine here flowering near the Rio Hollin, Ecuador.
Podranea brycei is likely the same as P. ricasoliana.  It is known as the Zimbabwe Creeper, and this was taken in Malawi, but the true origin is not well determined and it is now pantropical, especially popular in Mesoamerica. Click to see big picture (586x480 pixels; 53 KB)
Distictis buccinatoria goes by names such as Blood Red Trumpet Vine, or just Blood Vine.  It originated in southern Mexico, and for obvious reasons is now widespread in both tropics and semi-tropics. Click to see big picture (503x480 pixels; 88 KB)
A closer look at the striking Blood Vine, also called the Mexican Blood Trumpet.  For those who would prefer to avoid blood, it may also be addressed as the Scarlet Trumpet Vine. Click to see big picture (640x476 pixels; 93 KB)
Pyrostegia venusta is known as the Flame vine, and often as the Mexican Flame Vine, even though it originated in the Amazon.  It is now common in the Neotropics, however, and is spreading farther as a popular garden plant, used to cover walls and anything that gets in its way. Click to see big picture (640x392 pixels; 101 KB)
Of similar appearance is Tecoma (was Tecomaria) capensis.  This originated in south Africa and is known as the Cape Honeysuckle, although of no relation to honeysuckles.  It is a scambling shrub that has been planted through much of the tropics, including Mesoamerica.
In English it is known as the African Flame (or Tulip) TreeSpathodea campanulata did indeed arise in East Africa, but  is now pantropical with a vengeance and has proved widely invasive.  In Latin America it goes by names such as Tulipanero Africano and Llama del Bosque. Click to see big picture (576x480 pixels; 99 KB)
The lovely Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis, is native to the thirsty lands of southern U.S. and northern Mexico, but has been planted well beyond.  It is not related to the willows. Click to see big picture (535x480 pixels; 146 KB)
Pithecoctenium crucigerum is a neotropical liana, which goes by the unimaginative name of White Trumpet Vine. Click to see big picture (640x471 pixels; 94 KB)
A frontal view of the white trumpet flowers, which tend to turn yellow as they age.  Despite these attractions, the species is usually named for its pods. Click to see big picture (421x480 pixels; 83 KB)
The spiny pods of Pithecoctenium crucigerum join those of several unrelated species in being called Monkey Combs or Peine de Mono (or Mico).  In Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the more specific local name of Bateita is applied. Click to see big picture (640x373 pixels; 138 KB)
This species of Monkeycomb releases flat seeds, winged for dispersal.
Two other unidentified white trumpet plants with paired leaves, likely from the Bignoniaceae.  On the left from Colombia and Nicaragua on the right. Click to see big picture (640x456 pixels; 94 KB)
From Mexico, a flower that looks like Tecoma Stans, but with leaves which have only a few, scattered teeth. Click to see big picture (571x480 pixels; 106 KB)
DNA indicates that the Martyniaceae family is very close to the Bignoniaceae.  This is Proboscidea parviflora from the Unicorn Plant genus.  It may be found in the southern U.S. and Mexico and goes by the name of Doubleclaw.  (This is in reference to its pod) Click to see big picture (489x480 pixels; 76 KB)