Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
(Argentine Trumpet Vine, Painted Trumpet, Violet Trumpet Vine)
What a beautiful flowering vine for southern climes! A South American native, violet trumpet vine is a vigorous, evergreen climber with glossy dark green leaves. From spring to summer it produces many tubular, five-petaled blooms of pale lavender-blue to lavender-rose with darker veining and pale yellow throats. These are attractive to bees and hummingbirds and are followed by prickly green fruits.
Violet trumpet vine grows and flowers best in full to partial sun and average to fertile soil...
Carol Cloud Bailey
A vegetable popular in the tropical Americas, chaya sometimes known as tree spinach is considered by some experts as one of the most nutritious of the leafy greens. It originates from the Yucatan and is now naturalized in warm areas of the Americas. Fast growing, of easy culture and underutilized, this green must be boiled for one to five minutes before eating, the leaves are poisonous when raw.
Classified in the same family as poinsettia and croton, chaya is a tender perennial which forms...
Carol Cloud Bailey
Seagrape brings to mind sand, sun, and beaches, which is its native habitat from Florida to the Caribbean and South America. It can grow into a multi-trunked tree or sprawling shrub, depending on site conditions. Its leaves are large and circular with a rounded cleft at the base. Leaf color is dull green, often with red veins, and new leaves are often red-bronze. Its fragrant flowers are inconspicuous, ivory-colored and appear on stalked spikes. Plants are dioecious, meaning that male and female...
(Hispaniola Silver Thatch Palm, Silver Palm)
A graceful palm with its tall, star-shaped canopy of deeply cut leaves, the Hispaniola silver thatch palm flashes its silvery leaf undersides in the breeze. This evergreen, slow-growing palm is native to the grasslands and pine forests on the island of Hispaniola in the central Caribbean. It is sometimes called the Dominican silver thatch palm. It usually grows as a single-trunk plant, and is among the tallest growing species in the Coccothrinax genus.
The leaves are borne on fairly...
(Barbados Silver Palm, Silver Palm, Thatch Palm)
The Barbados silver palm is one of the tallest and fastest growing silver thatch palm species. It also produces so many seeds that you often seen this normally solitary-trunk palm in a cluster of variously sized plants at its base. This evergreen palm is native to the coastal scrublands in Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago and northern Venezuela. No matter how tall this palm gets, the trunk never seems to get wider than 6 inches (15 cm). Aerial roots often rise from the trunk base.
The leaves are borne...
(Borhidis Guano Palm, Guano)
The tight clusters of stiff, bluish green leaves on the Borhidis guano palm are most beautiful when viewed from above. For that reason alone, it's worthwhile acquiring young plants to enjoy for years in the garden before the trunk elongates. This evergreen palm is native only to the coasts of Cuba, where it is now endangered. It is very slow-growing, and becomes a short single-trunk palm over several decades. Old, dead leaves in the canopy persist, creating a brown petticoat.
The leaves have...
(Old Man Palm, Thatch Palm)
Once you see the thickly thatched trunk of the old man palm, you'll understand why some people insist it looks like Cousin It from the Addams Family! This threatened evergreen palm is native only to Cuba, where it sparsely inhabits grasslands and hillsides. It is slow-growing, and eventually becomes a two-story-tall, single-trunk palm over several decades. In windy growing conditions, the beard-like thatch is shed on oldest plants.
The leaves have fairly long petiole stems, causing the round...
Mark A. Miller
(Old Man Palm, Thatch Palm)
Very long, coarse, beard-like fibers develop on this subspecies of the old man palm. This threatened evergreen palm is native only to Cuba, where it sparsely inhabits grasslands and hillsides. It is slow-growing, and becomes an upright, single-trunk palm over several decades. In windy growing conditions, the beard-like thatch is shed on oldest plants.
The leaves have fairly long petiole stems, causing the round leaves with stiff pointed segments to jut out from the ornate, thatch-covered trunk....
Rolando Pérez, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution
(Brazilian Rose, Buttercup-tree)
Austere, barren skeletal branches are seen on the buttercup-tree for nearly half of the year, but the ornate yellow flowers in late winter remind you the tree is still alive. This fast-growing deciduous tree is native to the arid savannahs and scrublands of Mexico and Central America. The tree is upright in habit, but the awkwardly oval canopy reveals stubby, random branches. Bark is pale gray, adding to the tree's ghostly look.
The green leaves are palmately compound, looking like hands or...
Forest & Kim Starr
This is perhaps the most visually recognizable, romantic palm in the world. Coconut palm is commonly associated with the beaches of the South Pacific but is found in coastal tropical areas worldwide. It is a true palm that produces a crown of large, feathery palm leaves at the top of its long, bare trunk.
The large, pinnate leaves of coconut palm are deep green, sometimes with yellow petioles. Mature specimens produce branching inflorescences with numerous tassels of yellow male and female...