DixPix Photographs

     

TROPICAL CENTRAL AMERICA

 
     
  Flora- LILIALES AND ASSOCIATES  

 

The botanical Order Liliales is named for the Lily Family, Liliaceae, but with very few exceptions the lilies shun the tropics.  The family has also been torn asunder by those fixated on DNA.  On the other hand, the Bomarea genus from the Alstroemeriaceae Family has a bewildering variety of vines twisting through the forests, especially at altitude.  Alas, while it is easy to recognize a Bomarea, it is messy trying to identify one to species.  They tend to be called Señoritas in Central America.

In addition to the Liliales, a few photos are added from closely related Pandanales and Dioscoreales Orders, the former being represented by some unusual plants in the Cyclanthaceae Family.


But here is one lily that has a range extending into south Mexico, albeit staying at altitude.  Calochortus barbatus in Oaxaca State, where it is known as Ayatito. Click to see big picture (367x480 pixels; 53 KB)
A lily-like plant that I have not been able to identify.  From the El Dorado Reserve, of the Santa Marta Mountains, northeastern Colombia.
These Bomarea with the needle-point leaves are likely B. andreana.  They seem to prefer the subalpine zone, the one on the left being from Volcan Baru in Panama, and on the right from Cerro de la Muerte in Costa Rica.  Their range is from Costa Rica to Colombia. Click to see big picture (640x392 pixels; 92 KB)
Bomarea costaricensis appears to be endemic to Costa Rica.  One of the problems in identification is that there is often a variety of flower colors or patterns within one species. Click to see big picture (640x368 pixels; 71 KB)
A fuller look at the B. costaricensis (approx.) vine at Quetzal Park. Click to see big picture (640x347 pixels; 100 KB)
This is likely Bomarea acutifolia, which is one of the more common and widely met species, found from southern Mexico to Panama. Click to see big picture (640x407 pixels; 105 KB)
While this yellow-flowered  example, which is about to open, is probably Bomarea multiflora, which is also referred to as B. caldasii.  In fact it has some 22 published synonyms.   It ranges from here in Costa Rica to Ecuador. Click to see big picture (499x480 pixels; 105 KB)
This attractive species seems to be making the rounds in U.S. gardening circles, in this case at the botanical gardens at UC Berkeley.  Some sources report it as Bomarea kalbreyeri, but others claim that is just a synonym for B. hirsuta, native from Costa Rica to Ecuador. Click to see big picture (590x480 pixels; 111 KB)
One does come across Bomarea hirsuta in the wild, in this case to the northeast of Ecuador's highest mountain, Chimborazo.
A wide-leaf, roadside Bomarea in the highlands of Columbia.  Along with Ecuador, that country seems to be a center for diversity of this genus. Click to see big picture (554x480 pixels; 79 KB)
A spotted pink species from the Condor Range between Ecuador and Peru.  That fits Bomarea longipes. Click to see big picture (523x480 pixels; 136 KB)
Bomarea dulcis is a neotropical vine native to the mountains from Mexico to Peru.  It is also planted widely due to a starchy, edible root.  Here it hangs over a road in the Santa Marta Mountains of northeastern Colombia. bomarea dulcis
The flower display also makes Bomarea dulcis popular in tropical gardens, although this one is far from any homestead.
Bomarea patinii from the Ecuador-Peru border area, with rather plain flowers but in a large, tight mass.  This photo shows how leaves of the genus twist at their base, to present the bottom side up. Click to see big picture (640x434 pixels; 75 KB)
Bomarea seeds are also of some ornamental value, occurring in geometric clusters. Click to see big picture (374x480 pixels; 83 KB)
Smilaceae, the Greenbriar Family, is presently refuged in the Liliales. This is Smilax vanilliodora, one of the plants known as Zarzaparrilla. Click to see big picture (422x480 pixels; 82 KB)
Smilax vanilliodora is a heavy duty vine, with some wicked looking thorns. Click to see big picture (640x385 pixels; 84 KB)
At the Wildsumaco Reserve in Ecuador, an unidentified Smilax presents its fruit.
Dioscoreaceae, the Yam Family, gives its name to its small botanical Order, closely related to the Liliales.  This is a vine from the Discorea genus, with 24 species in Costa Rica alone.  Some of these have edible roots. Click to see big picture (350x480 pixels; 93 KB)
The Dracaenaceae family has been drifting, and seems headed for the Asparagales.  This is likely Dracaena fragrans which originated in Africa, but is widespread in the Americas as a garden and house plant. Click to see big picture (368x480 pixels; 100 KB)
Planted in rows such as this, Dracaena seedlings rapidly grow into a tight and tall hedge fence. Click to see big picture (483x480 pixels; 146 KB)
The Lance Dracaena (D. aubryana) is a west African that is also employed in Central America.  This one, however, is showing off its fruiting structures at the KEW Gardens in London.

The Cyclanthaceae is a colorful family which is sometimes placed in the forgettable Pandanales Order, and by others given an Order of its own.
 
This rather scraggly plant is Carludovica palmata, known in English as the Panama Hat Palm.  It is indeed used to make Panama Hats, and this is indeed in Panama, although the species ranges from Central America to Bolivia.  Click to see big picture (478x480 pixels; 119 KB)
The truth is that most Panama Hats are made in Ecuador.  If a Panamanian such as this needs a hat for a rainstorm in the outback, he is likely to don something from leaves at hand. Click to see big picture (409x480 pixels; 97 KB)
The Panama Hat Palm is locally known as the Toquilla Palm, but it is not a true palm.  Another name is Chidra.  Here is a closeup of the fronds from which weaving fiber is extracted. Click to see big picture (640x475 pixels; 124 KB)
The fronds of Carludovica palmata may be useful if dull, but the fruiting body is downright striking.  Click to see big picture (618x480 pixels; 132 KB)
Cyclanthus bipartitus has been widely planted in the Neotropics, largely because of this rather strange, fleshy seed pod assemblage.  It has many local names, Oreja de Burro being a common one. Click to see big picture (640x454 pixels; 119 KB)