Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wildflowers in the tropics

These are tropical wildflowers. They are normally very persistent and grow even in harsh conditions. Harsh in the tropics means dry and infertile soils or long rainy days, lots of weed competition, shady locations, eaten or trampled by grazers, and weeded by people. They produce lots of seeds or their roots and stems can multiply fast. They can be invasive in better conditions or when allowed to grow unrestricted.

Weeds are only weeds when they are not yet domesticated or planted in containers for some use. Just like the Mimosa, which is an obnoxious weed here, is an ornamental in temperate countries. I see also in some blogposts that porterweed is also cultured in gardens. 

Mimosa diplotricha or Mimosa invisa

Urena lobata or Caesar weed, flower size is about 1.5 cm in diameter. For botanical descriptions, medicinal values, and other names, and references, click HERE

Above and below: porterweed or Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

wild cosmos plants, Cosmos caudatus. This weed is supposed to be brought in by the Spaniards

This looks like a shrimp plant, but it remained green until it dries to brown. It is different from the common green shrimp plant in literature. But this is very drought tolerant and can still be seen with little greens even when most other plants turned brown in the dry season. Seeds are inside those structures, which might be bracts.

For the last plant, will anybody be interested to plant them as ornamental plants in their gardens? I am thinking of planting one in a pot at home, and if it will be pruned or trained, i guess it will be nice. Who wants green shrimp plants? Me!



  1. Oh thank you for telling me the name of PORTERWE3ED. I saw a lot of it in Costa Rica and I feell in love with it. So popular with hummingbirds.

  2. Photo Cache - haha, glad i am of some help, can you say its Scientific name! We don't have its local common name, and just learned it recently too. When my nephew was 5 i told him its Sci name while we were watching butterflies on it, i was so impressed the day after when he told his mom the name of the weed. It was a bit difficult. Thanks for being my first commenter!

  3. Love that first shot Andrea - it looks like a pretty and fragile starburst. Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Christmas.

  4. I like the purple cosmos. Do you consume the plant? The shrimp plant is cute. I have some shrimps in the pot with lotus. :)

  5. It's so interesting how one person's weed is another person's treasure:) Well that doesn't sound right, but you get the picture:p Mimosa is a popular choice here along with several other plants mentioned on this post. Most of it grows here....and some of it needs a little frost protection. Our weeds are really weeds unfortuneatly:( But they can be beautiful in spring....

  6. Beautiful wildflowers...the second one looks like a hibiscus...so interesting how we may plant your wildflowers here and they behave...

  7. For weeds, those are quite pretty! I like the green shrimp plant too, very unusual.

  8. even obnoxious weeds look so beautiful up close!

  9. Green shrimp plants are new to me, but it definitely does resemble shrimp. The difference between weeds and garden plants can be summarized by the saying "One man's weed is another man's flower!" If it grows where I want it to, it's a flower. If it grows where I don't want it to, it's a weed!

  10. Cosmos is a weed? Interesting... One of my favorites. I used to grow it in Russia with my Mom and I grow it here in the U.S. too. All your weeds are beautiful, Andrea!

  11. Hi Andrea, I never knew a plant I didn't like. Seriously, even the obnoxious ones. These are certainly beautiful. Oh how it makes me long for Spring! Got a few months to go. The anticipation makes it all the better. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  12. I like all the plants you featured here, even the green shrimp. I grow 'weeds' as ornamentals in my garden ;>) Wishing you a blessed Christmas, Andrea!

  13. I think one of the evolutionary skills weeds have is to make us want them. When we've got them ... then ker-pow!!!!!! we've got them forever like it or not.

  14. So similar to ours. Porterweeds grow like crazy in my hometown. I've seen some with pink flowers and some with white. These shrimp plants look much like the one I have in a container. I remember using the dry ones for decoration.

  15. This is a better-quality article as they all are. I make fun of been wonder wide this an eye to some beat now. It’s great to receive this info. You are fair and balanced.

  16. How beautiful.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    It's been a quiet one here.

  17. You have pretty 'weeds' Andrea. The cosmos, they are pretty desirable, yet they do self seed like a weed. I enjoy the look of wildflowers but it is often the plant form and leaf look that prevents them in a structured garden. I do let them in the garden in fall though. I like how you never know where to expect them. So many cherished perennials got their start as weeds, so a lot of respect to those little wildflowers.

  18. lovely wildflowers. the mimosa is a picture of grace.

  19. I love the name, Mimosa. The trees bloom in June here and I just whisper their name when I pass them, they do grow wild along woodland edges - gorgeous in the early summer! I enjoyed my visit learning about these plants!

  20. Beautiful, every one of them!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!

  21. Lovely wildflowers Andrea! Great photos too! Especially love the first photograph. Greetings from Massachusetts!

  22. Oh, such lovely wildflowers! I can see why plants that we struggle to grow here in the temperate Midwest may thrive to the point of being invasive in your lush climate. I wish cosmos grew wild here!

  23. I love all the details you do on your blogs. :)

  24. Andrea, What beautiful "weeds." I love the mimosa. It is not hardy where I live. Always a treat to visit the tropics with you!
    Hugs, Beth

  25. Andrea, it's been great knowing you and looking forward to another year of adventures and blog escapades. Happy New Year 2012, my dear friend!

  26. Mimosa is quite popular here as we sell it as the 'Bedtime time plant' for kids - though I always warn parents of those little thorns. The kids are fascinated by its leaves when they touch them and in the evenings when it closes its leaves. It's a nightmare to keep alive indoors though and I've found many a defoliated plant - but the odd time they reward me with beautiful pink pom pom flowers.

  27. The 'shrimp' plant does look just like a shrimp! lol

    Hope you have a wonderful new year!

  28. Let us all enjoy our full blessings this 2012! I fully appreciate your visits, comments, help, advice, friendships, etc, etc. Blogging gave me a lot of enjoyment and pleasure with your presence.

    Valerie - thanks also for your visit. I actually posted a whole post earlier for that Mimosa plant.

    One - this cosmos is a different species than your more commonly cultured cosmos. We don't eat cosmos here even the domesticated one. Does your shrimp grow in your lotus pond? Shrimp is my favorite, but the one in the sea!

    Rohrerbot - if you have seen my full post about that Mimosa, you will understand our hatred for this weed. And you are very right, someone's garbage is another's wealth. And literally that is true also, as biodegradable wastes become organic fertilizers, haha!

    Donna - yes that 2nd pink weed looks like hibiscus, but it is very tiny at about 2cm in diameter!

    Hoover Boo - i actually chose the more unusual but pretty weeds to post here. I actually intend to plant that green shrimp plant in a pot, domesticate it and maybe get some seeds for friends.

    Wendy - yes they are obnoxious, but pretty too! When the vegetative parts grow so much they really become extremely obnoxious than pretty, haha!

    George - you are very right! I am actually intending to domesticate that shrimp plant, who knows other people from foreign countries will like it too!

  29. Tatyana - this cosmos is a different species than our common ornamental plant, that's why i purposely put the scientific name here. It is not as prolific flower producer than the C bipinnatus, which we also grow in our gardens. I can't imagine the range of temps cosmos can grow in!

    Jann Olson - thanks for the visit. I also plant anything which i like, even if it is obnoxious to others! Beauty is in the eye of...

    Autumn Belle - Happy New Year my dear friend. The problem with weeds, even if they are pretty, is that they multiply a lot and very difficult to control. Besides, the vegetative are normally more than the flowers!

    Catmint - haha, maybe someone will later write "The Psychology of Weeds". Weeds are the most resistant of the plant species, i think.

    Kanak - we don't have other colors of porterweed here, if i can see some, then i will plant them too in containers as ornamentals. Butterflies love them a lot.

    Derry - thanks for your visit.

    Jennifer Jilks - a blessed New Year for you too!

    Donna - yes, they are really very unrully to be included in formal designs. Many commercial ornamentals really came from weeds, but the wild are mainly useful in preserving the genetic traits as resources for breeding.

    Life Ramblings - if you will only see my older post on Mimosa, you might think otherwise, haha!

    Kathy - Mimosa pudica is very famous, and in science it provided a lot of help to know the functions of physiological rhythms, because the leaves close when touched.

  30. Leah's menagerie - thank you for your appreciation and visit.

    Carol - thank you for appreciating my first photo, it is very delightful if a good professional photographer appreciates something i took. A blessed New Year for you dear Carol.

    Rose - yes, and a lot of temperate climate plants introduced here usually become invasive and hated eventually.

    Bildretusche - a difficult name you got, unusual for us, but thank you very much for the visit.

    Tina's Picstory - i appreciate your comment and visit.

    ladyfi - hope you drop by again, Happy New Year!

    Beth - thank you so much for your kind words. Sometimes, maybe winter is really good to kill the obnoxious weeds. You only love them because they easily die there, unlike here!

    Rosie of leavesnbloom - this Mimosa also helped lots of scientists in deciphering the purpose and physiology of its response to touch. It is different than those legumes which close their leaves at night.

    The Garden Ms S. - will you plant this shrimp plant if it is available? I am planning to culture them in pots, who knows it might get famous. hahaha!

  31. HAPPY NEW YEAR, Andrea! Yes, this season is very dusty but it drizzled last night and the dust has settled down. For a few days it's going to look cleaner but of course winter rain does not have the same effect as in the rainy season. Glad to have you stop by.:)

  32. I could tell that we’re on the same interest and obsession. Good to know someone I could share my ideas. Looking forward to know and learn some more from you. I'll be glad to share my own thoughts to you soon. Thank you for sharing such valuable articles. More power!

  33. I have seen the shrimp plants here in the botanical gardens (colored) by have never seen them in green.

    I could imagine myself living in your area and enjoying the beauty of nature and taking lots of photos.

    My sister lives in Cabiao, NE, but she works in SF, Pampanga.

  34. Dzięki za TŁUMACZA :-). Mimoza ma śliczne kwiatki, widziałam je na południu Europy. U nas niestety jest jej za zimno. Dla mnie nigdy chwastem nie będzie. Wiem, wiem to inny klimat. Pozdrawia STAŁY OBSERWATOR od dawna.

    :-) Thanks for the TRANSLATOR. Mimosa has beautiful flowers, I saw them in the south of Europe. We, unfortunately, is it too cold. For me it will never weed. I know a different climate. PERMANENT OBSERVER greets a long time.

  35. Its not my first time to visit this web site, i am visiting this website dailly and get pleasant information from here everyday

  36. Hi, Andrea! I'm very happy I found your blog today. Me and my son are doing nature study as part of our home school. Yesterday, we went to a hill and collected some wildflowers. He must mount one every week, name it, describe it, and say where he found it. Today he mounted and painted (the best he could) the porterweed. Your blog is such a big help. Be coming here often. Thank you!


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