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Torch Ginger, Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad

Torch Ginger, Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad
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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. Our very first morning, 16 March 2017, we were taken on a walk along one of the trails, where we were able to see a few interesting species of bird, including two of the three species of beautiful Trogons and the fascinating Bellbird.

"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.

Even after more than two months, 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: 2017-05-19 22:27:25

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

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Beautiful image Anne!
Glenn R Parker 2017-05-19 23:51:48
Totally completely different from our wild ginger plants here.
This is beautiful and I do think it's appropriately named.
snowinglightly 2017-05-20 00:27:54
[] If your wild ginger flowers are the same as ours, they are small flowers that basically bloom on the ground. Very unusual and not easily seen.
annkelliott 2017-05-20 01:42:18
[] Yes. This:
snowinglightly 2017-05-20 01:56:02
Thanks, SL - yes, that's the one : )
annkelliott 2017-05-20 02:00:59
Astonishing !
Snowdrops PamJ 2017-05-20 10:40:44
How pretty !!
jimgspokane 2017-05-20 18:16:19
altamons 2017-05-21 08:15:47

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