Letting Nature Be

By: Ana Portnoy Brimmer

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This Flamboyant, a flowering plant known for its extravagant display of flowers, stands naked in front of a house in Miradero, Mayagüez, after a chopping session. In Puerto Rico, and many other places around the world, there is a tendency to cut down, destroy, and tame nature, limiting the ecological diversity. Plant species that take years and great effort to flourish are suppressed and unallowed to do what comes to them naturally: growing.

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This is the backyard of another house in Miradero, Mayagüez, which is close to the house with the chopped down Flamboyant tree. The owner of this house decided to stop restraining nature and simply let it be. The results are a sight to see, a wide array of diversity.

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Pinwheel Jasmines adorn the shrubs surrounding the backyard and house. They are evergreen plants, which means they have leaves during all four seasons and are always green. They bloom during spring, but flowers appear intermittently all throughout the year.

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A Caladium, also known as elephant ear or Angel Wings, bears its intricate patterns amidst a yard of green. Approximately 98 percent of all Caladium bulbs are from Lake Placid, Florida. They grow in open areas of forests and along river banks, and are dormant during dry seasons.

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An orchid flower displays its delicate and spotted petals. The orchid family is one of the two largest families of flowering plants. According to a study in the scientific journal Nature, the orchid family is so ancient, 76 to 84 million years old, to be exact, they may have coexisted with dinosaurs.

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A coconut palm stands tall and casts an ample shade in the backyard. It can grow up to 98 feet tall and yield up to 75 fruits per year. Its scientific name is Cocos nucifera.

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An Allamanda flower basks in the shade during a sunny afternoon. This plant species tends to grow along river banks and other sunny areas where there is constant rainfall and a moist environment. The Allamanda species has been used in traditional medicine for various purposes, such as treating malaria, jaundice, and liver tumors.

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This guava tree sprouts a bountiful supply of fresh guavas during the summer. This fruit is not only enjoyed by human beings, but by many mammals and birds too. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and South America, but have become naturalized in Africa, South Asia, the Caribbean, amongst other tropical and subtropical regions.

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Ginger lends the backyard a splash of fluorescent color. It is originally from southern China, but eventually made its way to the Spice Islands, other parts of Asia, West Africa, and the Caribbean. Ginger is usually consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice.

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A Bougainvillea soaks in the sun as it sways to a soft breeze. It is an evergreen plant in places where it rains all year, and deciduous, meaning it loses its leaves seasonally, in places where dry seasons are prevalent. This plant’s sap can cause serious skin rashes.

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