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Icing on the [bromeliad] cake

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Flowers of the bromeliad Alcantarea imperialis finally opening....

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Sapodilla (Chiku) as a delicate dessert

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A combination of peach, pear, cinnamon, honey and just a touch of brandy best describe the alluring flavor of the sapodilla. Sapodilla fruit are soft and sweet, with a delicate aroma hinting of the beauty to come. The sapodilla is native to Central America, but its unique appeal carried it centuries ago to Southeast Asia, where it has undergone a wonderful transformation. The Maya described it as dainty, fragrant and well tasting - a delicate fruit indeed. Sapodilla is de ...

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MIAMI’S FIRST-EVER BUTTERFLY MIGRATION PARADE

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

MIAMI'S FIRST-EVER BUTTERFLY MIGRATION PARADE TAKES FLIGHT AT FAIRCHILD GARDEN Coral Gables, FL, May 7, 2013 - Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden loves butterflies, and we want the whole community to join us in celebrating our winged friends. On Saturday, May 18, Fairchild is hosting Miami's first-ever Butterfly Migration Parade, a day full of butterfly-themed family fun. Participate in the whimsical parade down Old Cutler Road from 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., then spend the...

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Symposium on Conservation of Palms from Hispaniola at National Botanic Garden of the Dominican Republic

Friday, May 10, 2013

As part of Caribbean palm conservation initiatives sponsored by the Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund a symposium was organized at the National Botanic Garden of the Dominican Republic on May 9th, 2013. Main themes of the symposium were conservation education strategies in botanic gardens and the way forward to protect species of Pseudophoenix in Hispaniola. Particularly the Haitian endemic P. lediniana (Critically Endangered status) and two additional species (P. ekmanii ...

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Expanding the Range of Genetic Diversity in Cultivated Chickpea through Introgression with Wild Chickpea

Sunday, May 12, 2013

FIU assistant professor, and FTBG affiliate, Dr. Eric von Wettberg traveled to southeastern Turkey from May 2-11 to identify populations of wild relatives of chickpea. With the support from the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation, von Wettberg and colleagues Dr. Jens Berger from Western Australia and Doug Cook and Varma Penmetsa from the University of California at Davis visited colleagues Abdullah Kahraman of Harran University, Canan Can of Gaziantep University, and ...

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One mile from the Pacific ocean...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Encinitas, CA. -- The feather duster palm, Rhopalostylis sapida, has the southernmost range of any New Zealand native. palm, meandering to the South Island of New Zealand. It's swollen and distinctive crown shaft bulges beneath upright stiff fronds. It is a prize here at the San Diego Botanic Garden. On 37 beautifully kept acres, the garden is in full bloom this spring. Coral trees and a daisy tree, kangaroo paws and Matilija poppies, bottlebrush trees and California poppies blend their...

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Welcome to Flutterings at Fairchild

Friday, May 17, 2013

Did you know that Fairchild has butterfly pupae shipped from around the world nearly every day? The Wings of the Tropics exhibit is home to nearly 3,000 exotic butterflies native to Central and South America, and Asia, all of which are sent to Fairchild Garden to create this truly unforgettable paradise! For the next week Fairchild's exhibit Manager Martin Feather will travel to northern Costa Rica and visit one of Fairchild's most important suppliers, El Bosque Nuevo. Join Martin on...

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Hello El Bosque Nuevo

Monday, May 20, 2013

Welcome to El Bosque Nuevo, one of Fairchild's major butterfly suppliers. Two breeding cages, as shown below, are used to produce over 2,000 eggs of Morpho peleides every day. The rains have not yet started here in the Guanacaste region, so nocturnal surveying for moths and beetles, starting tonight, will be focusing on the forested slopes of the Orosi volcano. Check back and see what we find tonight! Martin Learn more about El Bosque Nuevo here:...

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Traveling in Ecuador

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fog followed us from the coastal city of Guayaquil to some 8,000 or 9,000 feet into the Andes. On a tour to see orchids and aroids in their natural habitats in Ecuador, we could make out enormous anthuriums in the mist, a few bright orange Erythrina flowers, along with bright yellow epidendrums, but not much else. In Cajas National Park, however, the clouds were below us and the paramo stretched across the mountains as a lovely deep green skin. Just as we approached this ecosystem, we ...

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Nocturnal surveying at Estacion Pitilla

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nocturnal surveying at Estacion Pitilla on the slope of Volcan Orosi (at 700 meters above sea-level) using mercury vapor lights to attract all manner of insects yielded a rich diversity of beetles, moths and katydids. Above and below are two particularly spectacular specimens. I awoke this morning to the sound of Howler monkeys; it really is gratifying to know that the conservation efforts here at El Bosque Nuevo are having a positive effect. This existing natural forest, and the areas ...

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Orchid Hunting in the Andes

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Crossing the Andes, we find Puya clava-herculis in bloom at the highest elevations, their aquamarine flowers the same color as those of the jade vine. Now the hunt to find and photograph orchids becomes the obsession of the day -- but Marie and Steve Nock, who are our travel companions, are searching for aroids as well. Puya clava-herculis Sobralia rosea lifts large lavender and rose flowers everywhere we look. A terrestrial Habenaria species shows off little white flowers surrounding an ...

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Roadside beauty in Ecuador

Friday, May 24, 2013

Swallowtail puddling to sipminerals. An astonishing number of flowers sparkle from the sides of a dirt road here is southern Ecuador. Bromeliads, gesneriads, palms and heliconias along with birds and butterflies. A huge orange flower of a liana called Guarnia dangled from its stem. Inside hairy orange bracts are tubular yellow corollas, making the whole cluster stand out among the foliage. Called a jungle cucumber, the flowers are pollinated by heliconias butterflies. Fuchsia and ...

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A walk in the forest

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Despite the lack of rain at this lower elevation, a morning walk in the forest reveals many interesting plants, a few of which are featured here. Palms of many species proliferate, interspersed with towering, yellow-flowering Tabebuia chrysantha, Bursera simaruba and a host of others which I do not recognise from their bark alone. Martin...

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Another night in the forest

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Accompanied by a small Eco-tour group lead by the reserve manager, Ernesto Rodriguez, and our long-time friend and collaborator Mark Deering, we returned to the slopes of Volcan Orosi for another night of observations and photography. 'White witch' moth, almost 10" wingspan The air was a little less humid, the temperature a little higher and consequently we observed many different moths and other invertebrate species coming to our lights. A beautiful large katydid, approximately 4 inches ...

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Hiking in paradise

Monday, May 27, 2013

Heliconia orthotricha. Podocarpus National Park, covering 1,400 square kilometers or more than 900 square miles, in southern Ecuador, has spectacular plant and animal diversity -- more than 600 species of birds and 4,000 species of plants, 40 percent of which are endemic. So biologically rich, the park is called "the botanical garden of the Americas." Hiking here is one of life's great pleasures if you are nature nut like me. Butterfly on Miconia leaf. Philodendrons, ferns,...

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Searching for new nectar plant species

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I spent most of yesterday cruising the back-roads close to the Nicaraguan border hoping to come across new nectar plant species, but the whole lowland area is parched through lack of rain. One spectacular sight during the day was this beautiful Guanacaste tree, Enterolobium cyclocarpum, the national tree of Costa Rica. Following a particularly colorful sunset, viewed from the butterfly farm, the manager and his staff had some success in our search for the beetle we are trying to bring into ...

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