Costa Rica Flowers, Fruits, and Plants

For more of our visit to Costa Rica click on
Butterflies, Animals and birdsTortuguero, Arenal or San Jose.

For pictures of flowers from our other travels click here.

Wherever we went the vegetation was spectacular.
There were a lot of "flowers" like these.
Closer examination revealed that the "flowers" were leaves (bracts) that hid the actual blooms. 
It was the rainy season so each of these cups was filled with water and most had a population of insects/larva and occasionally tadpoles.
Quite a variety; some were smooth, others furry, some on stalks, others hung like pendants from the trees.
Parrot Flower (Heliconia)

Bamboo Orchid (Arundina graminifolia) the blooms are at the top of 6 foot stems

Banana production.
Not many bananas are visible as you drive through the plantations. 
The bunches are covered with blue bags for protection from insects, nematodes and rain.
Guy lines are needed for each of the trees to prevent uprooting do to strong winds and rain softened ground.

Monorail tracks are used to transport bunches of bananas from the fields to processing.
Workers hang the bunches from chains attached to small trolleys then push then along the track.
Drawbridges like these allow them to cross the road.

We saw several varieties of wild bananas.
The ones in the first picture were as hard as rock.

Other fruits we saw growing.

Star Fruit or Carambola (Averrhoa carambola).

Elderberry (Sambucus )

These are the flowers of a cocoa tree (Theobroma Cacao).
They will produce a 6 to 10 inch pod with 20 to 30 beans.
Which when  processed will yield a little more than an ounce of cocoa.

I understand that Noni (Morinda citrifolia) is not very tasty.
It is also called beach mulberry and cheese fruit.
It is bitter and strong smelling but edible ... barely.

This was identified as Cas Guava (Psidium friedrichsthalianum) a.k.a. Costa Rican Guava or Sour Guava. By Brett.

This fruit is a Cainito (Chrysophyllum cainito).
When ripe it is purple and I am told delicious. 
Thanks to someone at Swiss Travel Costa Rica for your help identifying this and the next fruit.
Possible oops
Another visitor,Jorge, to my site said
"I'm 99.999.9999.99999.99999% sure that what you are displaying as a caimito is either a green cas or a green guayaba. I bet on the cas."
With that degree of certainty I can't argue with his identification.
If I had cut it open it would have been easy to deturmine which ID was right.
I am no expert and rely on visitors to this page for their assistance so thanks for your help everyone.

Achiote (Bixa orellana) It is used to produce annatto, a food coloring which is used in Costa Rica and in the US since it is "exempt of certification" by the rules of the Food and Drug Administration.
Thanks again to whoever it was at Swiss Travel Costa Rica for your help.

Saragundi (Senna Reticulata) is reported to be beneficial for all sorts of medical conditions:
fever, constipation, arthritis, rheumatism, skin problems, herpes, psoriasis,and as a vermifuge.
Its other common name "Piss-a-bed" suggests that it may have some side effects.

We also saw papaya and pineapples being raised commercially.

I don't know the names of these.
If you can identify any of them please send a note.

Thanks to Kathleen who happened on this page and identified this fruit that I had listed as unknown as a "limon Mandrolino".
With that as a lead Google gave me the Spanish common name as "limon mandarina", which translates to mandarin lemon in English.
It is also known as a Paraguayan lemon, lime Canton, rough lemon, Rangpur lime, Limao cravo, hime lemon, or tangerine acid depending on where you are or where it was thought to originate.
It is probably a hybrid of
a mandarin orange and lemon.

Thank you Kathleen.

And another fruit.

This is another flower identified by a visitor to this page.
He said "It is a brunfelsia also known as a Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
The flower changes from purple to lavender to white thus the name."

Thanks Bud
(a great name for someone with a knowledge of plants don't you think.)

Red Button Ginger, Scarlet Spiral Flag, Red Cane, Panamanian Candle Ginger, Dwarf French Kiss (Costus woodsonii)
Another visitor was looking for the Yesterday Today and Tomorrow and spotted this flower.
 He recognized it as ginger, researched the exact type and sent a note.
Thanks Bob.

I really appreciate all the information I get from you folks out there on the web.
Lynn who lives in Costa Rica not only identified this plant but also included an interesting story about it.
This is what she said.
"Species: Hamelia patens  Of the family: RUBIACEAE  Commonly known as Redhead, or zorilla real, palo camaron and coralillo in Spanish, this plant has several medicinal uses.
Used as a remedy to many skin problems, including sores, bruises, itches, rashes, insect bites or stings, burns, cuts, and fungal infections.
According to recent research, it was demonstrated that active compounds in the leaves have antibacterial and anti fungal properties, displaying analgesic activity as well.
Having completed all the scientific data, allow me to add my personal experience with this plant:
One day after receiving a spider bite (type unknown) while puttering in our yard here in Costa Rica, my husband was instructed by our yard man to crush and soak some of the leaves from this plant
(which we, fortunately, have growing in our yard) in approximately. a liter of tap water for 30 minutes.; remove the leaves and soak the hand.
Much to our surprise, not only did the severe swelling subside, but the venom was drawn from the wound and it healed in just a couple of days.
Pretty remarkable plant!"
I am glad it was so effective for you, Lynn, and thank you for your help.

I don't know the names of any of these other flowers.
If you can help out please send a note, I would appreciate it.

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This is a
It was identified by a visitor to this page.
Thanks Kelley I appreciate your help.

Swamp Lily (Crinum erubescens) was common along the waterways.

The guide called this walking bamboo.
The prop roots are useful in the swamp where we saw it.

This sprout probably began growing at the top of the palm tree then rode the frond down when it fell.
It may have a difficult time getting its roots into the soil.

This coconut palm seedling will struggle as well.
It was about 100 feet toward the sea from the other palms on the beach.

A cyad  identified as (Cycas revoluta) growing along the walkway at the Turtle Beach Lodge.
If was properly identified it isn't native to Costa Rica.

Monkey ladder vine that could well serve as a ladder for very heavy monkeys.

You had to watch carefully in order not to miss some flowers.
To illustrate, these show up as four slightly pink pixels in the middle of the second picture.

Rain forest during the rainy season.
I expected to see a lot of fungus/mushrooms of various sorts but they were less in evidence than in the woods of KY.

House plants growing wild.
The aluminum plant (Pilea cadierei) and what are probably ti plants.

Two flowers we have seen before on other tropical beaches.
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Red Passion flower (Passiflora coccinea)

A different kind of Parrot Flower (
It looks a lot different from the ones at the top of the page but it is closely related.

Pink Ginger, not as common as the Red Ginger that we saw everywhere.

Shampoo Ginger or Maraca.

Pavoncillo Colorado (Megaskepasma erythrochlamys)

This one has lots of names.
Torch Ginger, Ginger Flower, Red Ginger Lily, Torch Lily, Wild Ginger, and my favorite Porcelain Rose (Etlingera elatior)

A big thank you to another visitor to this page for their identification of the flower below.
A biology professor at Wheaton College, Scott Shumway, identified these as (Cochliostema odoratissimum) in the Commelinaceae (Dayflower or Spiderwort Family).
The flower just above has many common names, this one apparently has none.
Professor Shumway has a website devoted to teaching people how to identify tropical plants to the family level.
(5)(8a)  (8b)  (8c)

And this preiously unidentified flower is now known thanks to another visitor to this page.
It is a (Carludovica rotundifolia)
which has the common name Panama Hat Palm.
He also was able to help me with an identification on my buterfly's page.
Thanks twice Rupert.

And some more I can't identify, of course.
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This flower was identified by a visitor to my site who reports that is is a great butterfly flower.
It is
Porterweed (Stachytarpheta)
Thank you again Kelley.

I really appreciate the many identifications on this page that have been provided by visitors I would like to thank them all again.
If you think you recognize any of those that are still unknown or can correct any of my identifications please send a note.

For more of our visit to Costa Rica click on Butterflies, Animals and birds, Tortuguero, Arenal or San Jose.

For pictures of flowers from our other travels click here.

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