Botanical Garden Field Trip Ajani, Hanna & Rachel

Some plants we saw on our trip
Featured plants
#1 - Saw Palmetto
#2 - Cacao
#3 - Kava
#4 - Annatto
#5 - Papyrus
#6 - Epiphytes
#7 - Cinchona
#8 -Tree Fern
#10 - Agave
#11 - Lithops
#12 - Venus Flytrap

Medicinal plants

CACAO (Theobroma cacao) seeds can help heart problems and blood pressure
JABORANDI (Pilocarpus pennatifolius) leaves can be chewed to relieve fevers, help with diabetes, and get rid of toxic substances in the body.
CINCHONA (Cinchona officinalis) bark can be used to cure Malaria.
SAW PALMETTO (Serenoa repens) fruit can help with enlarged prostate.
TROPICAL BLUEBERRY fruit is high in minerals and vitamins.

The rainforest ~

This is the leaf we sketched. It is big, allowing it to catch more light. It is waxy, and water rolls off it easily- which is helpful in the rainforest.
Hanna's sketch
Ajani's sketch
Rachel's sketch


The Vanilla Orchid (Vanilla planifolia--- italicize) is an epiphyte with thick stems for wrapping around other plants. Its sweet and unique smell and taste are appealing to animals including humans.


Wildcat 'Yellow' (dancing ladies orchid)
Cynosure 'Blue Bird' (zygonisia)
Yellow Parade 'Alpine' (oncidopsis)
These flowers are all brightly colored, most likely in order to attract insects and birds to pollinate them.
CURARE stem relaxes muscles. Doctors can use it to paralyze patient's muscles without stopping the heart. Hunters use it in a different way- they extract a chemical and use it for dart poison.

Food plants

Citrus paradisi 'ruby red' (grapefruit)

The fruit of the grapefruit is eaten.

Citrus reticulata 'dancy' (tangerine)

The fruit of the tangerine is eaten.

Ananas comosus (pineapple)

The fruit of the pineapple is eaten.

Vanilla planifolia (vanilla orchid)

The seed pods of the Vanilla Orchid can be used to make vanilla and are then eaten.


The Cacao fruit (or, bean) is made into chocolate and eaten.


Piper methysticum

Kava can work as an anesthetic, release muscle tension, relieve pain, and help with anxiety. (photo credit-
The most useful part of the plant is its root. Kava root can be ground into a drink that locals consider to symbolize good will. People drink it to celebrate or commemorate important milestones- from marriages to funerals.
Kava's scientific name, Piper methysticum, means "Intoxicating Pepper"

Layers of the rainforest

A rainforest has four layers:

  • Forest floor: The bottom layer ~ The soil has few nutrients because it is not enriched by decaying matter. Nearly all of the decaying matter is instead used by plants or washed away by rain.
  • Understory layer: The second layer ~ This layer is humid and doesn't have much light. It has smaller shrubs and trees.
  • Canopy layer: The third layer ~ Treetops keep the majority of light and water from passing down into the Understory and Forest Floor. There are many different kinds of plants and animals living in this layer.
  • Emergent layer: The top layer ~ This layer is composed of the tallest trees in the rainforest, rising above the Canopy layer to reach the sunlight.

Wetlands ~

Thunbergia mysorensis (Mysore clockvine)
It's stem is firm but flexible so it can wrap itself around other plants.
Sphaeropteris horrida (blonde tree fern)
The blonde tree fern is a seedless plant. Like all ferns, it uses spores to reproduce instead of seeds.

Other wetland plants

Desert ~

Desert epiphytes

Air plants
These desert epiphytes are known as air plants. Unlike the rainforest epiphytes we saw, air plants do not have long, thick stems for wrapping around other plants.

Carnivorous plants

Carnivorous plants
Dionaea muscipula (Venus fly trap)
The Venus fly trap is very sensitive to touch. It is brightly colored and has a strong scent to attract its prey. When it senses insects that landed it quickly snaps shut and its teeth fuse together before the prey has time to escape.
This is the leaf we sketched in the desert. It has thick cuticles, allowing it to retain moisture in the desert.
Rachel's sketch
Hanna's sketch
Ajani's sketch

Desert flowers

This desert flower (unlike most of the rainforest flowers) is most likely pollinated by wind. You can tell because each flower is made up of a bundle of little flowers that can easily be shaken and pollinated by wind.

Other desert plants

Other plants we saw on ouR trip

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