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Torch Ginger / Etlingera elatior seedpod, Trinidad

Torch Ginger / Etlingera elatior seedpod, Trinidad
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These are the seedpods of the Torch Ginger plant. They are huge, and I would never have guessed what plant they belonged to. Seen on 19 March 2017, at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad.

"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 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 dear 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 - accommodation at both places, all our food, and the various walks and day trips that we could choose 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! We were so lucky with our flights, as we were just in time to get Black Friday prices, which were 50% off!

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 the 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 minibus. I had read many accounts of this road, lol! There was enough room for two vehicles to pass 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 even 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.

This is a video that I came across on YouTube, taken by Rigdon Currie and Trish Johnson, at many of the same places we visited on Trinidad and Tobago. Not my video, but it made me feel like I was right there still. Posting the link here again, so that I won't lose it.

I also came across the following 27-minute YouTube video of the flora and fauna of Trinidad, filmed by John Patrick Smith in February 2015.
Date: 2018-01-16 00:41:45

Trinidad West Indies Caribbean Asa Wright Nature Centre nature plant flora seedpod seed head Torch Ginger Etlingera elatior leaves foliage rainforest outdoor 19 March 2017 FZ200 FZ200#4 annkelliott Anne Elliott © Anne Elliott 2017 © All Rights Reserved

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Previously posted photo to show the flower species that these seedpods belong to.
Torch Ginger, Asa Wright, Trinidad
annkelliott 2018-01-16 00:54:45
Oh my goodness! I would NEVER have connected these two things! That's just fascinating!
snowinglightly 2018-01-16 02:07:08
I thought it was an odd bunch of onions!
Janet 59 2018-01-16 03:48:04

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