Field of Science

Ludicrous Flower Friday

TGIFF - Yes, nothing can lift spirits more than another wonderful flower to ponder and appreciate. One of the great things about teaching rain forest ecology are the field trips, and today's flower grows in Costa Rica. Like many tropical trees, this species is cauliflorous, the flowers sprout right out of the tree trunk, rather like a overly gaudy baubles. And of course it helps to be conspicuous in the dim light of the rain forest understory. This flower can also take you a bit of time to figure out because there seem to be more parts than typical flowers and they are arranged rather differently than typical flowers. And that's where the fun is! This is a wild species of Theobroma, literally the "drink of the gods", and the domesticated species T. cacao is our source of cocoa, chocolate. Got that? C-A-C-A-O is the plant, C-O-C-O-A is the product.


Anonymous said...

Love the blog, phytophactor.

However, I think it's a stretch to call T. cacao domesticated. There's hardly any difference (maybe none) between historically cultivated T. cacao and wild populations.

The Phytophactor said...

Good point; cacao is cultivated not domesticated. This species is not cultivated.