Friday, June 08, 2007


If you ever have a look at a botanical listing of trees for the Amazon, you'll see that most of them have indigenous names, as should be the case. The Indians were the first in habitants of South America and they were here for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived and there was little that they didn't know about their environment. They had climbed all the mountains, they had explored all the waterways, they had probably tested every plant and tree for their medicinal properties. I joke about tree nomenclature by telling visitors that the biodiversity of the Amazon was so great, the Indians ran out of names! As such, they expanded the dictionary by using the word rana at the end of a name. It means "false", in this case. The tree shown in the attached image is a good example. Goiaba is guava; rana is false, thus the false guava tree. Why false guava tree? I can only assume because under all this beautiful red flaky bark, there's a smooth green bark that resembles guava. The genus of the tree is Eugenia. I don't know the species. It's not a very common tree. It's not rare by any means but the frequency is much less than a lot of other trees. I took this picture yesterday when I was out with a small group of visitors from the United States.

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