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Torch Ginger / Etlingera eliator, Trinidad

Torch Ginger / Etlingera eliator, Trinidad
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This photo caught my eye in the early hours of this morning (12 April 2017), while I was searching for a colourful bird photo to post for today. Such a contrast to watching the snowflakes that are gently falling right now. More snow and mixed precipitation forecast for three more days, too.

In the very early hours of this morning, I managed to post all the remaining photos that were taken on the island of Tobago, and now can finally start posting images taken on the much larger island of Trinidad. This shot of a gorgeous Torch Ginger was taken at the Asa Wright Nature Centre on our first day there, day 4 of our trip (excluding our day of travel to get from Alberta to Tobago, via Toronto). Before this trip, I had only ever seen and photographed this plant in the Conservatory at the Calgary Zoo.

"The torch ginger lily (Etlingera elatior) is a showy addition to the tropical landscape, as it is a large plant with a variety of unusual, colorful blooms. Torch ginger flowers may reach 17 to 20 feet in height. The torch ginger flowers may be red, pink or orange — blooming from colorful bracts. White blooms have been reported in some torch ginger plant information, but these are rare. Buds are edible, flavorful and used in Southeast Asian cooking." From the link below.

"The flowers emerge between the bracts and are red with yellow margin. The bracts are tough and shiny and so perfect the flower looks artificial. Seeds are numerous. The flowers attract butterflies, bees and birds. The flower buds, bracts and seeds are used in Asian cuisine." From myjunglegarden.

"Now cultivated throughout the tropics, torch ginger is thought to be native to Indonesia, Malaysia and southern Thailand (via Flora of China), though other sites suggest a native distribution restricted to a few islands in Indonesia. Whatever its origin, widescale planting of Etlingera elatior has made torch ginger the hallmark species of this genus of approximately 70 species. That's a very loose approximation, because researcher Dr. Axel Dalberg Poulsen reports that Borneo alone contains 29 species...." Information taken, with thanks, from the UBC Botany Photo of the Day website for May 31, 2007.

This adventure was only the second holiday (or was it actually my third?) of any kind, anywhere, that I have had in something like 30 or 35 years! The other holiday was a wonderful, one-week trip with my great friends from England, Linda and Tony, when we went down south to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons in September 2012. I have had maybe half a dozen weekends away, including to Waterton National Park, which have helped keep me going.

Six birding/photographer friends and I decided that we would take this exciting trip together (from 12-21 March 2017), spending the first two or three days on the island of Tobago and then the rest of the time at the Asa Wright Nature Centre on the nearby, much larger island of Trinidad. We decided to take a complete package, so everything was included - flights (we were so very lucky to get Black Friday prices, which were 50% off!), accommodation at both places, all our food, and the various walks and day trips that we could chose from. Two of my friends, Anne B. and Brenda, saw to all the planning of flights and accommodations, which was so very much appreciated by the rest of us. I could never have done all this myself!

What a time we had, seeing so many beautiful and interesting things - and, of course, everything was a lifer for me. Some of these friends had visited Costa Rica before, so were familiar with some of the birds. There was a lot more to see on Trinidad, so we were glad that we chose Tobago to visit first and then spend a longer time at Asa Wright. It was wonderful to be right by the sea, though, at the Blue Waters Inn on the island of Tobago. Just gorgeous.

The Asa Wright Nature Centre, on Trinidad, is such an amazing place! We stayed in cabins up or down hill from the main building. Really, one doesn't need to travel away from the Centre for birding, as so many different species visit the Hummingbird feeders that are right by the huge, open veranda, and the trees of the rain forest high up a mountainous road. The drive up and down this narrow, twisting, pot-holed road was an adventure in itself! Never would I ever do this drive myself - we had a guide who drove us everywhere in a van/small bus. I had read many accounts of this road, lol! There was just enough room for two vehicles to squeeze past each other, and the honking of horns was almost continuous - either to warn any vehicle that might be coming fast around the next bend or as a sign that drivers knew each other. The drive along this road, from the coast to Asa Wright, took just over an hour each way.

I still miss the great food that was provided every single day at Asa Wright and the Rum Punch that appeared each evening. I never drink at all, so I wasn't sure if I would even try the Punch - glad I did, though, as it was delicious and refreshing. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all served buffet-style, with a great variety of dishes from which to choose. To me, pure luxury. So very, very grateful to have been invited to be part of this amazing adventure.
Date: 2017-04-12 22:21:18

Trinidad West Indies Asa Wright Nature Centre trail nature flora plant flower flowers wildflower tropical Etlingera eliator Torch Ginger Ginger Flower Zingiberaceae red bracts large spectacular colour colourful forest rain forest macro close-up outdoor 16 March 2017 FZ200 FZ200#4 annkelliott Anne Elliott © Anne Elliott 2017 © All Rights Reserved

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Bares zero resemblance to our ginger plants which are tiny!
This is a gorgeous red color and a most interesting, yes torch-like, shape.
snowinglightly 2017-04-12 22:34:27
Oh, goodness me! You are having snow again? Such a colourful ginger! Is that a flower?
Janet 59 2017-04-12 22:41:05
Wonderful shot. Although unseasonably cool here we are lucky compared to you to only get rain.
jlcummins - Washington State 2017-04-12 22:44:37
More snow?? Wow, it was 87F here yesterday-broke another record. Lovely and exotic flower. You sure got some great pics on your trip!
qt flickr 2017-04-13 02:20:45
Beautiful vibrant floral macro image, Anne!
monteregina 2017-04-13 03:12:21
Have the feeling that maybe this photo isn't showing up on everyone's Contact page - too many people are faving the previous, far from brilliant shot for some reason : ) Or maybe people just want birds, not flowers, lol?
annkelliott 2017-04-13 04:35:20
So spectacular.
odell_rd 2017-04-13 04:50:18
wow, you are only on day 4! How many pictures did you take? Fabulous diary of all that you saw, Anne. Gorgeous capture of this flower.
Bonnieg2010 2017-04-13 05:00:03
[] Yep, and I haven't really started Day 4 yet, either. Not sure, but I believe it was just over 5,500. Not sure about the one folder, so it may have been around 6,500, but I suspect 5,500+ is the accurate one. So, really not all that many for an 8 day stay. My photos are for the record shots, unlike yours, which are posted for their superb quality, ha : )
annkelliott 2017-04-13 05:18:42
hahaha fisrt I thought that is this a bird ?
But I realized it was a flower !
Bright and brilliant !
Shinji.Nagashima 2017-04-13 05:47:59
Stunning !
Admired in ~ I ♥ Nature╰⊰⊹✿
Snowdrops PamJ 2017-04-13 12:56:15

Seen in *Flowers&Colors* group.
Tag your photo with Flowers&Colors
antarctica246 2017-04-13 13:37:17
Striking image.
Burton Babes 2017-04-13 15:03:03
Wonderful !
J. Shejbal 2017-04-13 18:12:53
Grazie per aver condiviso ...
Thank you for sharing ...

Pazzi per i fiori - Mad about flowers
J. Shejbal 2017-04-13 18:12:57
Don Delaney 2017-04-14 23:09:09

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