Rarities mostly captured at the Princeville Botanical Garden.  These beautiful collectors items are organized according to orders and families to help create a context as to where they fit into the plant kingdom.  Some are not so rare but help to fill in that context.  We start with Monocots then move on to Eudicots (Dicots).  Omitted here are all palms, to be displayed in the Kauai Palm Compendium.


     Order Cycadales

Zamiaceae                                                                                                                                      B.





















A. Cardboard Palm; Zamia furfuracea

B. Lepidozamia peroffskyana

C. Giant dioon (gum palm); Dioon spinulosum

Zamiaceae:  Of three out of eight genera are represented here, Z. furfuraceae is native to Veracruz and reaches a height of 1.2 meters with the trunk as wide as it is high (like a cardboard box).  L. peroffskyana gets up to 4 meters tall and is from eastern Australia.  D. spinulosum is from Oaxaca and Veracruz and gets up to 12 meters high.  Cycads have separate male and female plants.  Longitudinal parallel venation in the leaflets and spirally arranged pinnate leaves are the rule.  Cycads are living fossils.  The age of the dinosaurs is better known as the age of cycads.  Two other families exist in Cycadales: Stangeriaceae and Cycadaceae.  The latter family contains another common decorative cultivar on kauai, the sago palm, or cycas revoluta.   Well known but did not get any good photos of one.

    Order Zingiberales

                   Marantaceae                                                                                                               B.


A. Calathea crotalifera

B. Calathea zebrina

Marantaceae:  Only one genus out of 29 represented here:  Calathea.  C. crotalifera, or rattlesnake ginger, is easily identified on the right and is from the American tropics from mexico south.  C. zebrina is native to southeastern Brazil.  Marantaceae is also known as the arrowroot family or prayer-plant family.  Its extant species are not centered in Africa, but DNA studies indicate it probably originated there.  It is known for its large extensive starchy tubers and spathe like bracts on under the inflorescences and sheath-like petioles at the bases of the leaves, which are large and look similar to the leaves of heliconias, ginger or even slightly like bananas.  All from the same Order Zingiberales.


Etlingera elatior (Torch Ginger)

Zingiberaceae: The above specimen, known as Torch Ginger, or as scientifically labeled, Etlingera elatior, is one of the most beautiful flowers I think I've ever seen.  It is spellbinding with it's numerous glowing petals of pink or almost red in some species, and it is born on stocks of elegantly painted glowing hues like perfect candy-canes.  To me it is the essence of a tropical rose.  The ginger family is very important for its ornamental, spice and medicinal members, some of which include ginger itself (zingiber oficinale, which is also an eye-catching plant), turmeric, ornamental red ginger (as seen in my previous blog, Fantastic Flora of Kauai--Part II, Alpinia purpurata), cardamom, and aframmom corrorima.  Most of these are spices used in dishes in Southeast Asia and Africa, and turmeric, aside from being a spice and colorant is being sold today for medicinal uses as a supplement and appears to have antifungal, antibacterial, and disease modifying effects that may benefit irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer's, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.  You name it, but it's also a yellow food dye.  The flower and seeds of torch ginger are used in a few dishes, in North Sumatra, Thailand, and Indonesia.


 Order Alismatales


A.                                                                                                                                     B.

        C.                                                                                                                             D.


A. Anthurium andreanum; flamingo flower

B. Alocasia clypeolata; Green Shield Alocasia

C.Alocasia zebrina: elephant's ear

D.Alocasia zebrina

C.Colocasia esculenta: taro plant

Order Asparagales




           Order Magnoliales


A. Magnolia figo; Banana shrub



       Order Gentianales


Cinchona officinalis; Quinine


Stemmadenia litoralis; Milky Way Tree


Fragraea berteriana: Puakenikeni

     Order Lamiales


A.                                                                                                                                   B.


A. Aphelandra sinclairiana; Panama Queen

B. Pachstachys lutea; Yellow Candles/Golden shrimp plant

C. Crossadra infundibuliformis; Firecracker flower





A.                                                                                                                                    B.


C.                                                                                                D,

A. Euphorbia pulcherrima; Poinsettia

B.  Euphorbia milii; Crown of Thorns plant

C. Jatropha podagrica; Buddha belly plant

D. Euphorbia punicea; Flame of Jamaica






















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