Saturday, April 14, 2007

Powder-puff (Calliandra)

In this world of biodiversity, one of the little pleasures in life is discovering the name of a tree or plant. In an earlier post I made mention of an orchid, Psygmorchis pusilla, that had made its home on a plant called pavão, which in the Portuguese language means "peacock". Claúdio Serique, who classified the orchid in short order, couldn't come up with a name for host plant. I was confused because I saw more of these flowering shrubs in the wild along the highway but the leaves were different. Today I did some browsing on the internet to discover that the genus of the plant is Calliandra and that there are more than 200 different species. The common name in English is powder-puff and there are a lot of different colors and formats. The one in the image may be C. surinamensis, but I' not sure. The original cutting of this plant was given to me by Hélcio Amaral, friend and local historian.

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