what's That flower?

Just to hone your botanical identification skills, once a month we'll try and post a photo of flower/s that are definitely not from your local garden center. See if you can provide an ID to our NOID species, then drop us an email. First person with the right answer will be acknowledged on the site and - possibly - be granted Eternal Enlightenment.

This Month’s NOID:


Widely-cultivated, but many never get to see the flowers on their plants. An easy one!

Image: F. Muller.

November’s NOID:

Common Name: None

Family: Vitaceae

Species: Ampelocissus javalensis


A few informed guesses by visitors on this one, but still no winner after four months. A ginormous and rather obscure Neotropical grape (it was in fact formerly considered a Vitis sp.) restricted to Nicaraguan, Costa Rican and western Panamanian Caribbean lowland rainforests. Grows into emergent canopy and has small purplish-brown flowers. Discovered near the Javalí mine at the Chontales gold works in Nicaragua by German botanist Berthold Seemann at an indeterminate date in the latter half of the nineteenth century and was believed to be very rare until fairly recently. Not very apparent in the image, but the fruits on this individual looked like they belonged on one of those cheesy 1970s-era floral arrangement that included gold-painted plastic grapes.

The infructescences on this species could make the term “grape-sized hemorrhoids” a terrifying diagnosis.

October’s NOID:

Common Name: Clavellino, Mutisia

Family: Asteraceae

Species: Mutisia clematis

Mutisia clematis  by Salvador Rizo shown in “La Real Expedición Botánica del Nuevo Reyno de Granada”.

Mutisia clematis by Salvador Rizo shown in “La Real Expedición Botánica del Nuevo Reyno de Granada”.

Another month with no winner. The flower is from the very beautiful Colombian and north Ecuadoran aster, Mutisia clematis. This climber is restricted to very high elevation habitats (>9,750’/3,000 m) in the northwestern Andes.


September’s NOID:

Well, no winners so you’ve apparently given up! Here’s the skinny on this odd beauty;

Common name: Flor de Inirida de Invierno (Colombia), guacamaya (English)

Family: Rapateaceae

Species: Guacamaya superba

Notes: Endemic to the Río Guianía and its tributaries in southeastern Colombia and southern Venezuela. This is a rainy season (“Invierno”) flower. As soon as the rains end and the soil temperatures rise, G. superba is substituted by Schoenocephalium teretifolium, a somewhat similar looking member of the same family that is known locally as the Flor de Inirida de Verano (dry season flower).

These plants grow only on certain white sand savannas, occasionally flooded by blackwater creeks in a habitat that they share with Drosera biflora.

Query: Do any of our visitors from botanical gardens grow guacamayas? I know that Selby has at least one member of this family in its collection.

Exotica Esoterica