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Clusiaceae, Garcinia livingstonei, Imbe, African mangosteen

September 26, 2014

Garcinia livingstonei enjoys a wide native range throughout Tropical E. Africa and parts of W. Africa. Outside of its native region the tree is relatively unknown to most, aside from your occasional rare fruit.

The fruit is prized for its excellent flavor and the powdered root is used as an aphrodisiac. According to Coates Palgrave (2002) the fruits can be fermented into a pleasant alcoholic beverage. Once established trees require little to no maintenance and are highly resistant to pests and diseases. Thus the species is considered to hold potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

The small tree can grow up to 18 m with highly sculptural growth habit. The fruit an orange berry, 10-40 mm in diameter, with yellowish orange, sticky juice.

I took these photos in Jalisco, Mexico where the tree seems to be very happy and healthy growing in a mixed species agroforest. Trees are growing steadily but have not yet produced fruit. A male and female are required for pollination and fruit set.

Click the following link for previous posts on species in the Garcinia genus.

Click this link for a few earlier posts on the Clusiaceae family. 

Garcinia livingstonei Garcinia livingstonei

Myrtaceae, Eugenia reinwardtiana, Cedar bay cherry – Jalisco, Mexico

September 26, 2014

Eugenia reinwardtiana is a large shrub / small tree native to the rainforest of N. Queensland, Australia, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands. I’ve written previous posts on a number of members of the Myrtaceae family and the Eugenia genus specifically. Click links or type family / genus into the search bar.

The fruit of E. reinwardtiana is edible with a taste and texture reminiscent of a cross between Cocoplum, (Chrysobalanus icaco) and Water apple (Syzygium). I took these photos on the Jalisco coast in Mexico where it is growing very well.

Eugenia reinwardtiana leaf Eugenia reinwardtiana fruit leaf

Bignoniaceae, Parmentiera spp? – Jalisco, Mexico

September 25, 2014

This looks like a Parmentiera spp., of the Bignoniaceae family. Possibly Parmentiera aculeata? I took the photos last week in coastal Jalisco, Mexico. A guy I work with propagated a number of plants from seed he collected in his village. Any ID suggestions greatly appreciated. Here’s a link to Crescentia alata, the Mexican calabash tree, a Parmentiera relative also native to the region. Here are a few other previous posts on members of the Bignoniaceae family.

SCW_6320 SCW_6321 SCW_6312 SCW_6576

Woman Healers of the World – Book

September 24, 2014

I recently contributed a photo of Tabernanthe iboga to this book: Woman Healers of the World By Holly Bellebuono (Skyhorse Publishing). I was just informed that the book has been published and am eagerly awaiting a copy in the mail. Here is a brief description of the book followed by a cover image. The book can be purchased directly from Skyhorse Publishing, Amazon, Good Reads, and a number of other sellers:  

Women Healers of the World 9781629145891(Click to enlarge)

The recent trend toward holistic living has heightened our national fascination with herbal remedies and less conventional therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, aromatherapy, and ethnobotany. Now, this intimate and inspiring book opens up the world of herbal medicine to those interested in learning about the history of these techniques and approaches.

Women Healers of the World shares with readers an extraordinary variety of healing plants from around the world that have inspired today’s “alternative” medicine, as well as the stories, challenges, and triumphs of remarkable women healers from past and present—all of whom promote the use of medicinal herbs.

Through this book, herbalist and author Holly Bellebuono aims to educate readers about sixteen plant-based world healing traditions and thirty women who have practiced them. Bellebuono also explores the geography, history, and medical heritage of twenty countries where these traditions originated.

With thorough knowledge of the uses and effects of these healing traditions, readers can then move on to featured recipes for herbal remedies they can make in their home kitchens. Following Bellebuono’s instructions, readers will produce remedies such as soothing lip balms, wound pastes, face masks, arthritis oils, relaxing bath salts, and revitalizing teas.

Apocynaceae, Thevetia ovata (?), Codo de fraile – Jalisco, Mexico

September 24, 2014

I’m pretty sure these are photos of Thevetia ovata, although not positive… please correct me via comment forum if you have doubts. This does appear to have a more wrinkled leaf then photos that come up on an image search. This could be a different species although T. ovata is what I’ve seen listed as being present in this area. My friend / colleague Stan (Plant Creations) suggests its likely a serious mite or thrip or combination infestation, which is looking like the most probable explanation.

Thevetia is an interesting group of plants in the Apocynace family, close relatives of Genera such as Tabernanthe, Carissa, Plumeria and Tabernamontana, among many others. Click links for more info.

I took these photos Thevetia ovata last week in the dry tropical forests along the coast of Jalisco, Mexico. The plant was growing just in from a beach inlet as a large shrub / small tree (up to 8m). Thevetia peruviana is a more common related species, often seen used as an ornamenal plant in the tropics and subtropics. Despite its pervasiveness the plants ethnobotanical (medicinal, magico-religious, nefarious) uses are often overlooked.

Thevetia ovata leaf Thevetia ovata fruit Thevetia ovata flower Thevetia ovata flower

Baby discovers the pantry

August 7, 2014

baby finds pantry

Elephant carnage on the railroad tracks – Gabon

July 24, 2014

Here is a somewhat grizzly series of photos depicting the aftermath of what appears to be an elephant having been recently hit by a train and subsequently stripped of its meat by local villagers…Yes, that circular grey thing is an elephant ear.

I took this photo in Gabon at the end of 2012.

Railroad tracks, Gabon

Elephant carnage, Gabon

Railroad elephant carnage, Gabon

Railroad elephant carnage, Gabon

Elephant carnage, Gabon

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