By Liliana Usvat
Lianas and Palm Trees
Ninety per cent of the world’s vine species grow in tropical rainforests. Lianas are a type of climbing vine found throughout tropical rainforests. They have thick, woody stems and come in various lengths (up to 3,000 ft) and varying shapes. They begin life on the forest floor but depend on trees for support as they climb upwards towards the sunlight they need for survival. They do this by attaching themselves to trees with sucker roots or tendrils and growing with the young sapling, or they climb by winding themselves round the tree’s trunk. When they reach the top of the canopy they often spread to other trees or wrap themselves around other lianas. This network of vines gives support against strong winds to the shallow-rooted, top-heavy trees. However, when one tree falls several others may be pulled down also.
Red Palm is more commonly known outside of the woodworking community as Coconut Palm, where it is cultivated and grown throughout the tropics worldwide for its fruit. Nearly every part of the tree is said to have a use or value, and older trees are typically only harvested for wood after they have passed their time of fruit-bearing—usually after 50-70 years. Technically neither a softwood nor a hardwood, palm falls into the category of monocots, which also includes bamboo, grass, banana, rice, wheat, corn, etc. (Monocot is short for monocotyledon, which simply means that the seed of the plant contains one leaf, rather than two as found in dicots.) Palm woods have no growth rings
Tropical trees that I found in one of my trips
I could not identify the specie.
Delonix regia, Poinciana regia
One of the most conspicuous flowering trees seen in the tropics. Bright fiery red/orange blossoms cover its mimosa type leaves which close up and go to sleep for the night. Can be grown as a potted tree. Very tropical! This large tree, which naturally assumes a spreading umbrella shape, is now found in gardens, parks, and planted along streets throughout the tropics. It can grow as tall as 59ft and has smooth greyish-colored bark and attractive feathery, fern-like leaves, which drop annually during the dry season. At the same time as the new leaves appear, the tree is covered with masses offive-petalled flowers
The banana plant
The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant.All the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure usually called a “corm”. Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy, and are often mistaken for trees, but what appears to be a trunk is actually a “false stem” or pseudostem. Bananas grow in a wide variety of soils, as long as the soil is at least 60 cm deep, has good drainage and is not compacted. The leaves of banana plants are composed of a “stalk” (petiole) and a blade (lamina). The base of the petiole widens to form a sheath; the tightly packed sheaths make up the pseudostem, which is all that supports the plant. The edges of the sheath meet when it is first produced, making it tubular. As new growth occurs in the centre of the pseudostem the edges are forced apart. Cultivated banana plants vary in height depending on the variety and growing conditions. Most are around 5 m (16 ft) tall, with a range from ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ plants at around 3 m (10 ft) to ‘Gros Michel’ at 7 m (23 ft) or more. Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) long and 60 cm (2.0 ft) wide. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look
Citrus Tree Lime
Lime (from Arabic and French lim)is a term referring to a citrus fruit which is typically round, green in colour, 3–6 cm in diameter, and containing sour and acidic pulp. There are several species of citrus trees whose fruits are called limes, including the Key lime, Persian lime, kaffir lime, and desert lime. Limes are a good source of vitamin C, and are often used to accent the flavors of foods and beverages. They are grown year-round and are usually smaller and less sour than lemons.
Uses: To prevent scurvy during the 19th century, British sailors were issued a daily allowance of citrus, such as lemon, and later switched to lime,which was not as effective at preventing scurvy but was easier to obtain on Britain’s Caribbean colonies. It was later discovered that the greater effectiveness of lemons derived from the four-fold higher quantities of vitamin C contained in lemon juice compared to the West Indian limes used by the British. This was initially a closely guarded military secret, as scurvy was a common enemy of various nations’ navies, and the ability to remain at sea for lengthy periods without contracting scurvy was a huge benefit for the military. The British sailor thus acquired the nickname of being a “Limey” because of their usage of limes
Mimosa, Silk Tree, Calliandra “powder puff”
The red-blooming calliandra “powder puff” shrub is fast-growing and blooms spring through fall.
Latin Name: Albizia julibrissin
Other Name(s): Mimosa, Powder puff tree
Preferred Hardiness Zones: Zones 6-9
Size: 20-40′ tall and wide, sometimes growing larger
Exposure: Full sun
Note:Can be invasive. Also short-lived.
Mandevilla Vine Sun Parasol
Mandevilla species are native the Southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America. Many originate from the Serra dos Órgãos forests in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The genus was named after Henry Mandeville (1773-1861), a British diplomat and gardener.
Mandevillas develop spectacular, often fragrant flowers in warm climates.
It consists of about 100 species, mostly tropical and subtropical flowering vines.
Strelitzia reginae MandelasGold
Strelitzia reginae Mandela’s Gold, the yellow bird of paradise flower is a stemless, evergreen perennial shrub. The leaves are gray-green, banana-shaped and grow to a height of about 1.5 meters. The structure and pollination of the flowers is fascinating. The flower is at right angles to the stem, and gives the appearance of a bird’s head, hence the name Bird of Paradise flower. Each spathe contains 4 to 6 flowers. Each flower consists of 3 yellow sepals and 3 dark purple petals.
Russelia Juncea Red
Are commonly used to hide unattractive retaining walls or fences because they grow quickly and have dense foliage. Growing to a maximum height of 1.8 m (5.9 ft), they are shrubs which will tolerate full sun to partial shade. As evergreens they bloom for most of the year.
- Form of Trees, Flowers and Fruit Kawung or palm, palm (Indonesian) (lemburkawung.wordpress.com)
- Banana plant breaks Northampton greenhouse roof (sfgate.com)
- Native vs immigrant trees: what’s best for attracting wildlife? (telegraph.co.uk)
- How to Throw a Margarita Party (potterybarn.com)
- How to Host a Tropical Fare Party (potterybarn.com)
- Palm Trees, morbidity and the second day of NaNoWriMo (astronomicaspirations.wordpress.com)
- Banana plant breaks Northampton greenhouse roof (bostonherald.com)
- Buy Flowering Shrubs at TN Tree Farm Nursery (floweringshrubsattntreefarmnurserydotcom.wordpress.com)
- Not so fun by the water??…. The continuing project (karavation.wordpress.com)
- Top (Nearly) Indestructible Plants for City Living (proplants.com)