Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Plant's Defense

While hiking in the rain forest on my past trips, I've encountered some nasty plants.  Watch where you place your hands or you'll find yourself stabbed and bleeding.  The above plant, the Naranjillo has thorns on its leaves.  I had several times unwittingly pushed a leaf out of the way and pricked myself. 
Sometimes the struggle for life happens from above as a plant, like the Strangler Fig, crawls up a tree and sends roots down from the tree's branches(above pic).  Those roots will touch the ground and create a new plant....eventually killing the host by strangling it to death. Also be aware that some skinny and smaller snakes can pose as vines....so watch where you're grabbing:) 
It was on this day that we hiked into the forest and discovered all these fascinating plants on Coiba Island off of Panama.

This video shows how the plant, Mimosa, protects itself from rain overload on the forest floors.  The leaves fold up to keep moisture from building up on the leaf and killing it.  The Mexican Bird of Paradise in our Tucson sun has a similiar strategy.  Two more posts on Guatemala and some interesting tropical finds and then we'll be heading out back into the garden and around Arizona in December.  There will be several special posts dedicated to Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon and Colorado Springs.  We'll also be heading back to the frigid Northern state of Wisconsin looking for owls and other birds.  Stay tuned for more from Las Aventuras....


  1. Chris, did you see my mimosa post, i also put a video from wikipedia. We have also a plant like the first photo, but i dont know the name.

  2. Hi Andrea!! I'll check it out. I think the thorny leaf, thanks to my guide, was titled the naranjillo which probably carries a different name on your side of the world:) Hope you're having a good week!

  3. I would need to be educated before daring entering such a place...

  4. Yikes! I'm not a big fan of plants that attack, but I do admire their gusto. :o)


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