Beach morning glory

Beach morning gloryIpomoea pes-caprae (Convolvulaceae) Characteristics Perennial, creeping vine. Grows on the upper parts of beaches, often covering large areas, and endures salted air. It is a primary sand stabilizer, being one of the first plants to colonize the dune (pioneer plant). The stems are often several meters in length, rooting at the nodes, glabrous.…

Blind your eye mangrove

Blind your eye mangroveExcoecaria agallocha (Euphorbiaceae) Characteristics Small tree, up to 15 m tall. Dioecious (trees either male or female). Pollinators such as bees commonly visit the flowers. Fruit is a small dark capsule. Distribution Common in mangrove swamps from Bangladesh, India, Australia as well as on the shores of the Philippine and Pacific Islands.…

Hibiscus

HibiscusHibiscus rosa-senensis (Malvaceae) Characteristics Bushy, evergreen shrub or small tree, up to 5 m. Glossy leaves and solitary, brilliant red flowers. 5-petaled flowers are 10 cm in diameter, with prominent orange-tipped red anthers. Despite its size and red hues, which are attractive to nectarivore birds, it is not visited regularly by hummingbirds when grown in…

Barringtonia

BarringtoniaBarringtonia edulis (Lecythidaceae) Characteristics Small, evergreen tree. Seeds edible, sold in local markets, eaten raw or cooked, with a flavor like raw peanuts. Sometimes cultivated in home gardens and around villages. Distribution Native to Fiji. Natural Medical Properties No known. Did you know? Cut nut is related (same family) to the cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis).…

True Mangrove

True MangroveRhizophora sp. (Rhizophoraceae) Characteristics Rhizophora species generally live in intertidal zones which are inundated daily by the ocean. They exhibit a number of adaptations to this environments, including “pneumatophores” that elevate the plants above the water and allow them to respire oxygen even while their lower roots are submerged, and a cytological molecular “pump-mechanism”…

Curry Tree

Curry TreeMurraya Koenigii (Rutaceae) Characteristics Small tree, growing up to 6 m. Aromatic leaves, pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long. Small white flowers which can self-pollinate. Fruit is a small, black drupe containing a single, large seed. The pulp is edible, with a sweet flavor. Distribution Native to the Indian subcontinent. It…

Pongamia

PongamiaMilletia pinnata (Fabaceae) Characteristics Tree, 15-25 m tall, with a large canopy. Leaves alternate. Flowers in clusters: white, purple and pink, blossoming throughout the year. The tree is well adapted to intense heat, sunlight and droughts. Root nodules promote nitrogen fixation (typical for Fabaceae – the bean family). Distribution Native to eastern and tropical Asia,…

Tatakia

TatakiaAcacia simplex (Fabaceae) Characteristics Perennial climbing tree, up to 12 m tall. Although it produces true leaves as a seedling, like most members of this section of the genus, the mature plant does not have true leaves but has leaf-like flattened stems called phyllodes. The Tatakia tree is abundant along sandy beaches and on the…

Taro

TaroColocasia esculenta (Araceae) Characteristics Perennial, tropical plant. Primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible, starchy corm. Leaves up to 40×35 cm and sprout from the rhizome, dark green above and light green beneath, highly water-repellent. Taro is one of few crops (along with rice and lotus) that can be grown under flooded conditions.…

Giant Taro

Giant TaroAlocasia cf. macrorrhizos (Araceae) Characteristics Rhizomatous, evergreen, perennial herb, up to 4.5 m tall. Gigantic leaves (up to 180 x 120 cm), arrow-shaped at their bases and stand upright, pointing skyward (unlike the leaves of Colocasia which droop and point toward the ground). Flowers consist of a yellowish-green spathe and spadix. The plant performs…