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Plants and Climate Change

Yummy Brazilian Parasites

Belem is a big, noisy and — shall we say — inelegant city in the north of Brazil, not exactly where you'd expect plant parasites to thrive. But one of the glories of this place has got to be the vining plants creeping up the gnarled, old street trees.

Street trees, I might add, that are not London plane trees. Diversity lives! They are huge, 6-story high mangera, or as we know them mango trees.

So about those parasites: the two most prominent ones appear to be members of the ficus family. One has big variegated leaves and is simply stunning, wrapping itself (without detriment, I might add) around the mango's broad trunk. It'll look familiar to anyone who's grown Brazilian houseplants. Unfortunately, my cab driver was clueless about its name I don't have enough battery power to Google it right now. Could one of you reading this post provide the species and common name?

The other looks an awful lot like the creeping fig that we used to use in the D.C. area to cover stucco walls in warm little corners. And the third is reminiscent of what we call the pencil plant; it just rains off the mango trees here in big bursts of lime green.

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And yes, speaking of rain, it's cloudy with the occasional downpour. Getting nice and accustomed to soggy so I'll be ready for the jungle; expect to have my toes in that mother of all rivers tomorrow ...

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