Thursday, 6 September 2007

Ripley in the Forest

Believe it or not?!
This is stranger than fiction. The leaves of the incense tree are little mini-incubators for insects that set up residence for their eggs in the intra-cellullar spaces of the leaves. This is the beginning of the neighbourhood. Paradoxically, if the leaf senses that the area is becoming too crowded and presumably its own resources may be compromised, it creates "fake" homes. Basically saying to the expectant mamas- no room at the inn.



This is a crowded neighbourhood about to pop.
Most of these have moved on and left their home and the leaf high and dry. There is a particular butterfly that does this and the plant allows it because a symbiotic relationship is set up between insect and plant as the butterfly returns to the plant to pollinate the flowers. I only know this because Courtenay, my very knowledgeable guide, filled me in on this info.


This particular plant is the incense tree and it produces a red berry that smells divine and is a very potent insect repellent.

You could not dream up the things that go on in the rain forest. I was never very good at physics but somehow I have a dim sense of mathematical perfection in these minor miracles.
A member of the bactris palm family. This is one scary palm.Tiny white mushrooms deep in the forest. Each serrated edge more perfect than the other.
Courtenay has a great blog. He's well worth visiting- http://pariasprings.typepad.com/
Thanks Courtenay. My bites have finally disappeared so I'm ready for my next forest foray.

3 comments:

Green thumb said...

I had been wondering what these marks are on my incense tree, but casually dismissed them as some plant disease.Thanks for the informative post.

My Chutney Garden said...

Green Thumb,
I'm amazed at the similarities in our landscapes. When I go to your blog, I could be looking at Trinidad. Cannot believe that you are halfway across the world. Aren't incense trees lovely?

Aliena Pundit said...

glad you're recirculating your blog...enjoyed this one, didn't even know there was an incense tree let alone such interesting reproductive rituals being performed on their leaves...