Asclepias fascicularis - Narrow-leaf milkweed

Below are photos of the spectacular flower and thin leaf of Asclepias fascicularis, the narrow-leaf milkweed. This species, and others in its genus, is a specific monarch butterfly food and habitat plant. Planting milkweeds and helping to support their populations can aid in creating habitat for the dwindling populations of monarch butterfly.

Narrow-leaf milkweed flower and bud at varying stages.

Narrow-leaf milkweed flower and bud at varying stages.

Narrow leaf milkweed leaf and unopened flower (bud).

Narrow leaf milkweed leaf and unopened flower (bud).

Brownea macrophylla - Rosa del monte


Native to South America - Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela; C. America - Panama.

Typically found growing as an understory tree in the rainforest, often subject to periodic inundation.


In the Darien region of Panama the bark of Brownea is boiled in water to make tea used to treat diarrhea. The flower is considered to be "from the devil" and infused in water used for ritual baths.


Brownea can be grow easily from the large brown seeds. Some literature states that Brownea seed has a semi-hard seed coat and benefits from light scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination, however I have never found this to be the case. Germinate fresh seeds in a compost rich, well drained soil mix and results should be good. Seeds to not have a very long viability. 

Brownea macrophylla is native to the moist tropics, it cannot tolerate frosts. Trees prefer a position in partial shade requiring moist soil and dense deep, rich, slightly acid soil. Trees are slow growing and, if happy, will flower when three to four year olds from seed. 

Celosia argenta

Commonly known as the plumed cockscomb or silver cock's comb, Celosia is a tender / herbaceous annual that is grown in gardens throughout the tropical world. It blooms in mid-spring to summer. The plant is propagated by seed, which are extremely small, up to 43,000 seeds per ounce! 

Celosia is considered to be one of the most attractive of all vegetable crops. Few of its millions of admirers know that it is a common item of human diets in West Africa and Southeast Asia. The fresh young leaves, stems, and flower spikes of Celosia argentea var. argentea or "Lagos spinach" are one of the main boiled greens in West Africa, where it is known as soko yòkòtò (Yoruba) or farar áláyyafó (Hausa). 

Productive, drought tolerant and easy to grow, the plant could become a much greater contributor to malnutrition and general human welfare equatorial regions of the world.

Leaves are high in Vitamin A, C, and Calcium. The calcium, however, is not available because its tied up in oxalic acid.

Celosia argenta.jpg

Artabotrys hexapetalus - Ylang-Ylang vine

Artabotrys hexapetalus is a sprawling shrub / vine in the Annonaceae family originating in India. The plant grows like a sprawling shrub that will turn in to a vine if it is given a support structure. Although not apparent in the photos, the branches have hook-like protrusions (like Una de Gato, Unicaria). These aid the sprawling branches in climbing. 

Artabotrys hexapetalus leaf and fruit.

Artabotrys hexapetalus leaf and fruit.

Moringaceae, Moringa oleifera, horshraddish tree, drumstick tree

Yielding protein, oil, and carbohydrates, and with a load of vitamins and minerals, Moringa is possibly the planet's most underdeveloped tree. A sort of food market on a stalk, it yields at least four different edibles: pods, leaves, seeds, roots. Beyond edibles, it provides products that make village life more self-sufficient in rural communities: lubricating oil, lamp oil, wood, paper, liquid fuel, skin treatments, the means to purify water, and more. The green pods, which look like giant green beans but taste something like asparagus, are notably nutritious. Foliage is an important food product as well. People in various countries around the world boil up the tiny leaflets and eat them like spinach. In general this supreme plant shows a capacity to help solve problems such as hunger, malnutrition, rural poverty, disease, deforestation, and visual blight. Although the experiences come almost exclusively from India, the genus Moringa is inherently African, so it has ancestral roots in sub-Saharan soils. Read more in this informative PDF

Moringaceae, Moringa oleifera

Moringaceae, Moringa oleifera