(Cassava, Manioc, Tapioca Plant, Yuca)
Having many economic uses of its starchy root, cassava has ornate hand-like (palmate) leaves and small, curious flowers lacking petals. This upright, bushy tender tropical perennial with semi-woody stems is native to northern South America in a north-south swath across the Amazon River Basin from the Caribbean Sea to Bolivia. Although a frost-tender plant, it is root hardy in regions with frosty, mild winters and will quickly rejuvenate when soil warms in spring.
The dark green leaves have an...
James H. Schutte
(Variegated Cassava, Variegated Tapioca)
This deciduous tropical tree is an agricultural crop in the tropics where its fleshy roots are the source of tapioca. It is a native of southern Brazil and has long been cultivated by indigenous peoples who harvest the roots that resemble yams. The processed food product made from cooked, ground roots is known as cassava or yuca. This variegated form is much smaller with the proportions of a shrub, with semi-woody stems, truly being a tropical herb. The foliage is composed of dinner-plate sized...
The prayer plants, prized for its beautiful leaves, is native to the warm, moist, forested regions of Brazil. It is among the most popular of tropical houseplants. A tender, herbaceous perennial, Maranta leuconeura forms clumps and slowly spreads from stems or rhizomes (lateral underground stems). The leaves arise close together from sheaths. They are large, elliptical to oval, and often marked with blotches, streaks or stripes of color. They are also waxy, light to dark green and often...
(Mexican Fence Post Cactus, Organ Cactus )
Fence post cactus is among the most easily identified, particularly when grown edge to edge as a living fence. Native to much of central Mexico, this quite lovely cactus shows more skin than most of its spinier relatives. As tall as a one story house, the straight, upright stems can reach significant diameter with age, as wide as a human hand. This cactus branches from the root, producing a clump of stems that rarely branch, making them a clean, upright fence-post like shape, hence the name. Areoles...
Mauroguanandi, Flickr Contributor
(Gold Markhamia, Siala)
One of tropical East Africa's most beautiful flowering trees, the siala boasts erect clusters of trumpet-shaped golden yellow flowers. This fairly fast-growing deciduous tree grows on forest edges and along river banks. It develops a slender, upright trunk and distinctive oblong canopy that doesn't cast a broad shadow. The trunk may also slightly curve and displays grayish sienna bark that flakes away in strips.
The compound leaves are rich bright green and comprise 7 to 11 leaflets with deep...
(Common Nardoo, Pepperwort, Water Clover)
An interesting fern with clover-like fronds, common water clover forms soft-looking mats of foliage at the water's edge and beyond. A frost tender tropical perennial fern, it grows from upright rhizomes (underground stems) in wetlands naturally across interior Australia.
The submerged rhizomes send up thin stems above the water surface. Each frond is fan-shaped, with two leaflets that are each divided into two lobes. Crush a leaf and it smells of peppery mint. As this is a fern it does not flower...
James H. Schutte
(Banded Nardoo, Banded Water Clover, Pepperwort)
An interesting fern with clover-like fronds, banded water clover forms soft-looking mats of foliage at the water's edge and beyond. A semi-hardy tropical perennial fern, it grows from rhizomes (underground stems) in wetlands in Australia.
The submerged rhizomes send up thin stems above the water surface. Each frond is fan-shaped with four leaflets that are light green with a central attractive band of red-green. Crush a leaf and a scent of peppery mint is released. As this is a fern it does not...
(Variegated Nardoo, Variegated Pepperwort, Variegated Water Clover)
An interesting fern with clover-like fronds, variegated water clover forms soft-looking mats of light and dark green foliage at the water's edge and beyond. A semi-hardy tropical perennial fern, it grows from rhizomes (underground stems) in wetlands in Australia.
The submerged rhizomes send up thin stems above the water surface. Each frond is fan-shaped with four leaflets that are emerald green with a central attractive band of red-green and central core of light green. Crush a leaf and a scent...
(European Water Fern, Pepperwort, Water Clover)
An interesting fern with clover-like fronds, European water fern forms soft-looking mats of foliage at the water's edge and beyond. A perennial creeping fern native to Europe and northern Asia, it will form an indefinitely broad mat of foliage and rhizomes.
The submerged rhizomes send up thin stems above the water surface, or floating on the surface if water is deep. Each frond is fan-shaped with four leaflets that are triangular and emerald green, although in low light two- or one-leaflet leaves...
(Yellow Butterfly Vine, Yellow Orchid Vine)
Producing fairy-like, airy groupings of yellow flowers in the warmth of summer, yellow butterfly vine gets its name from the large keeled seedpods that resemble plump butterflies. Native to the tropical forests of northern Mexico, it is an evergreen climber with lance-shaped green leaves. During the warm months from spring to fall, there are loose clusters of the yellow, five-petalled flowers among the leaves. They are not likely pollinated by butterflies, but by various species of bees that favor...