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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

Glowing yellow mushroom – California

July 23, 2014


Is it just me or is this mushroom glowing? I took this photo back in winter of 2012 and just found it in my photo archives. I don’t recall posting it here before. Please let me know via the comment forum if you have any ID suggestions.


Solanaceae, Brugmansia vulcanicola, Vulcan Angel’s Trumpet

July 23, 2014

Brugmansia vulcanicola is one of the less common species in this genus. Native to the subtropical highlands of S. America. Click photos to enlarge.

Click here for previous entries on the Brugmansia genus.  And for more on the Solanaceae family click here

Brugmansia vulcanicola leaf

Brugmansia vulcanicola flower

Brugmansia vulcanicola flower profile


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