Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More Flowers......

Although we're technically "retired" we are not your average retirees.  Since we retired in our 50's we enjoy living the life of a retiree, but still going out on the town dancing and partying.  On Saturday night we joined a group of Young Expats in Panam√° (YEP) for a mixer in Coronado.  The crowd included all age ranges so we certainly felt like we blended in well. 

Drove up into the clouds on Sunday, as we made our way to El Valle de Anton for a little shopping. Looking for another end table made of twisted root to match one we already have was my plan. Stopped along the way at roadside wood shops selling tables, chairs and other touristy items, but didn't find the table we were looking for. 

Once we made it to the village of El Valle a stroll through the marketplace was a must. Out of all the things to buy, we filled our car with plants to go into are already full garden. They had many varieties of unique plants for just a few dollars each. Apparently Clyde doesn't have enough to trim, cut and mow now and needs some more. Also found some ceramic birds to hang on the outside of the house to add a splash of color.
A form of ginger these flowers look like plastic

This is a heliconia plant

There are about 40 different species of heliconia. The leaves of this plant are paddle-shaped, and they are related to the banana family. Heliconias are sometimes called "lobster claws" or "parrot flowers "because of their beak-like "bracts" which can be orange, purple, red, yellow, pink, green or a combination of these. A bract is a leaf structure at the base of a flower. The heliconia's flowers are tiny and found inside these bracts, which are so large and colorful that they almost hide the flowers all-together. This keeps the flower's sweet nectar tucked away so that only specialized birds can get to it. Some species of heliconia have upright facing flowers, and in some called hanging heliconia, the flowers dangle down from the main stem.

The flower wilted right before the picture was taken

See the tiny flowers begin to grow inside

Heliconias are found throughout the Neotropics and are actually quite common in the rain forest. They are also often found as ornamental plants in gardens and landscaped areas. People enjoy their colorful, gravity-defying ornamentation. The heliconia, like the bromeliad, can also be home to other living things. Water collects in the bracts of the straight stems, which provides a habitat for many species of tiny aquatic organisms. Many other animals depend on the heliconia as well. Hummingbirds and butterflies like to drink the sweet nectar from the heliconia’s flowers.

A closeup of the flowers inside

These grasshoppers are everywhere eating our plants

Not much to say since it's just another day....along the gringo trail.

Flower info provided by the following:

  • Jukofsky, Diane. Encyclopedia of Rainforests. Connecticut: Oryx Press, 2002.

  • Biological Diversity Info: biological-diversity.info/native_heliconia.htm
  • 1 comment:

    1. I believe the ginger plant is reputed to have been used by indigenous people for shampoo. Great photos of the heliconias!


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