Heliconia Haven Plant List

Principle references are 

Costa Rican Natural History
Daniel H. Janzen (Editor)

Arboles de Costa Rica     
by Holdridge, L.R.; Poveda, L.J.

Charles Wright, OBE 
personal communications

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Common Names


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Abrus precatorius rosary pea, crab’s eyes,
precatory bean
deadly poisonous, small vine to 15 feet, one macerated seed could kill a baby
Achras zapota chico sapote, sapodilla edible fruit, very durable hardwood, excellent house-post
Allamanda cathartica golden trumpet, allamanda vine w prolific yellow blossoms, used as cathartic
Alocasia macrorhiza elephant ear see Colocasia escuentla
Alpinia zerumbet nutans shell ginger attracts hummingbirds
Alpina various variegated shell ginger attracts hummingbirds
Anacardium occidentale L. cashew, maranon, merey edible fruit, tree to 12 meters
Ananas comosus Merr. pineapple, pina edible fruit, pick before ripe or animals will get it first!!
Andira inermis black cabbage bark, carne asada durable hardwood, purple flowers, (??see also Lonchocarpus?),
frequently buttressed to 10 feet, wood poisonous but decorative,
medium to very large tree, dense rounded crown, evergreen
Annona muricata soursop, guanabana delicious fruit, also called catoche
Annona reticulata custard apple, chirimoya another delicious fruit, also called bullock's heart
Artocarpus altilis breadfruit, breadnut we have both forms, edible starch, trunk used for huge slit gongs in SE Asia, breadfruit propagated by root suckers, breadnut by prolific seeds, leaf sheaths used as fine sandpaper,
sap useful as caulk, chewing gum
Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. jackfruit, jakfruit very large fruit, to 2 ft long and 40 lbs., cauliferous (hangs from trunk) - my one tree has grown from 3 ft to 25 ft in 4 years.
Aspidosperma cruenta malady good for poles, unusual circular papery seed
Averrhoa bilimbi bilimbi, grosella tart fruit, pickle-like,    Planted seed '91, produced heavily '96
Averrhoa carambola starfruit, carambola delicious fruit, juice, leafcutter ants love the leaves!  Planted '95, little growth due to wee-wee (leafcutter) setbacks.
Azadirachta indica A. Juss. neem tree many medicinal and other uses
Bambusa vulgaris bamboo green/yellow striped, clumping, fast growing - to 3 inch stem diameter in 3 years from rooted section
Bambusa various bamboos one fine elegant branching variety with thorny joints to 2 inches in length (see jewelry) - this one makes an unpenetrable thicket, slow starting, then watch out!
Bixa orellana L. annatto, achiote, achote tasteless dye used as natural coloring, esp. for cheeses
Bougainvillea glabra bougainvillea the classic beauty…purple
Bougainvillea spectabilis bougainvillea purple
Bromelia pinguin pingwing, chiras, pinuelas very prickly with recurved thorns - very large – to 6-9 ft w, can create dense thickets, unusual edible fruit, sort of a banana /pineapple cross in taste/texture, dramatic red tips on leaves
Bromelia numerous bromeliads prolific along river many varieties
Bursera simaruba gumbo limbo, "tourist tree" called tourist tree because of its"pinkish bark, always peeling"
fruit is major food of spider monkeys
Byrsonima crassifolia craboo, nance, manero fruit, kids (generally not adults) & birds love, in Belem, Brazil an ice cream called muruci' from this has been called the "ultimate in exotica", cortex of stem useful for tanning hides, also used to reduce fevers
Caesalpinia pulcherria dwarf poinciana, Pride of Barbados, flower fence excellent for attracting hummingbirds, butterflies & people, blooms continuously, prickly
Calathea insignis calathea spectacular large yellow flowers in fan shaped bracket (see Botanical Section for photo) flowers May-Nov in neotropics
Calatola laevigata tropical walnut rare, medicinal uses, emetic (fruit can cause extreme vomiting)
Calocarpum sapota mamay sapote fruit resembles sweet potato in appearance, many love it
Canangium odoratum Baill. ylang-ylang, perfume tree very fragrant, used as basis for perfumes
Canarium ovatum pili nut From Moluccas/New Guinea, seed roasted, excellent flavor
Carica pennata Heilborn wild papaya, papaya de monte many seeds, attracts toucans, aracaris, excellent for birds, locals claim will cross and ruin cultivated papaya species
Carludovica palmata jippy-jappa, Panama hat palm used by Maya to make excellent small baskets
Cassia fistula golden shower tree spectacular bloom, seed pods 1/2" x 2-3' , slow growth to 30'
Cassia grandis L. bukut, pink shower Senna unusual fruit, medicinal, massive bloomer
Cecropia obtusifolia bertoloni cecropia, trumpet tree I have spotted toucans, parrots & trogons feeding simultaneously in one cecropia tree, often viewed as a weed, but great for birds, and sloths. Easy to grow, I planted many.
Arboles de Costa Rica lists 9 species
Ceiba pentandra ceiba, silk cotton tree huge forest giant, sacred tree of the Maya - "the ceiba holds up the heavens...", one variety said to have a blood red sap, distinctive pyramid shaped green spiny trunk when young
Chrysophyllum cainito star apple, caimito, cauje excellent tropical fruit, fruits 8-12 yrs from seed, attractive tree
Citrus aurantium sour orange used in past as rootstock – very sour
Citrus chironja. horse lime the horse lime is larger than a grapefruit.  prolific producer Charles Wright indicated source as mountains of Puerto Rico,
Citrus limon lemon .
Citrus paradisi grapefruit .
Citrus sinensis sweet orange .
Citrus unshiu satsuma, mandarin .
Citrus   various others,  Tahitian lime, The Tahitian lime is via C Wright direct from Tahiti.
Clitoria ternatea butterfly pea thin vine, blue flowers year round, yes, flower resembles...
Codiaeum variegatum croton -various have about 10 varieties
Coffea sp. coffee 200 producing plants, tastes grt., Maya do use, you should try
Colocasia escuentla taro, dasheen, poi, tannia, elephant ear see also Alocasia macrorhiza (difference is in technical details of ovary) cooked pounded tuber yields "poi", a starchy paste, tuber can also be used directly by boiling, baking, or roasting
Cordia dodecandra siricote Resume review here used for most carvings sold in Belize
Cordyline terminalis Ti (tee), good luck plant, dracena a pest! Can’t be killed!
Costus guaniensis costus huge, spectacular bloom, spiral growth
Costus laevis costus spiral growth, have 3 color versions
Crescentia alata gourd tree .
Crescentia cujete calabash becoming rare in Toledo, very desirable habitat for orchids and bromeliads, useful for jewelry and bowls
Crinum zeylanicum spider lily ?? see also Hymenocallis…
Cuscuta spp devil’s gut, strangle weed a great pest, seeds distributed by birds, vine overcomes small trees
Dalbergia latifolia East Indian rosewood, blackwood decorative hardood
Dalbergia retusa rosewood, cocobolo Beautiful purple/black grain, very, very dense, cannot nail or screw, 3/8" lag bolts will shear off
Delonix regia flamboyant, royal poinciana spectacular when in bloom, the epitomy of tropical splendor
Dieffenbachia . dumbcane, mother-in-law plant .
Diospyros discolor Willd. velvet apple, mabolo unusual, tasty, attractive fruit and tree, prolific producer
Enterlobium cyclocarpum Jacq. Tubroos, guanacaste, ear fruit very unusual seed pod, tree is a forest giant, becoming rare in Toledo
Erythrina poeppigiana coral tree, anauco brilliant red/orange mass of bloom
Erythrina speciosa coral tree  
Eugenia malaccensis L. malay apple, mountain apple crisp juicy fruit, attractive tree with large, dense, dark geen leaves
Eugenia uniflora Surinam cherry one of my favorite fruits, delicious
Ficus spp tropical fig trees, various excellent food for many animals, we had a howler monkey visiting for 2 months to feed on these trees
Gliricidia sepium madre de cacao, mata raton under True Tales from the Bush, see story...
Gynerium sagittatum wild cane, cana brava often seen along rivers
Heliconia angusta Orange Christmas .
Heliconia bourgaeana Purple Christmas? .
Heliconia chartacea Sexy Pink .
Heliconia orthotricha Edge of Nite red w dark trim
Heliconia champneiana Maya Gold native with massive bloom
Heliconia wagneriana . native, common
Heliconia aurantiaca . native, small blossom orange at first then fades to an attractive green w age, a very small heliconia plant
Heliconia latispatha . native, very common, spiral orange bloom, great for hummers
Heliconia mariae . native, red, massive pendulous bloom, very common, very tall plant, forms dense stands
Heliconia collinsiana . native, red upright bloom, waxy white under leaves, common
Heliconia mathiasiae . native, red rachis, yellow sepals, small plant
Hibiscus various . .
Hylocereus undatus Britt. night blooming cereus must see, massive, beautiful white blooms
Hylocereus Triangularis night blooming cereus must see, massive, beautiful white blooms
Hymenocallis littoarali spider lily ?? see also Crinum zeylanicum
Inga various bri-bri, guaba good wild animal food, larger fruits also eaten by Maya, much variety
Ipomea various morning glories medicinal, hallucinogenic, esp "bado negro"
Ixora macrothyrsa ixora good for butterflies, humingbirds
Jacaranda mimosifolia jacaranda beautiful foliage and flowers, (??can it tolerate our humidity??)
Jacaratia dolichaula wild papaya .
Lantana camara lantana butterflies love it
Leucaena glauca wild tamarind fine foliage, very attractive
Lecythis zabucajo Anbl. monkey pot, sapucaya nut .
Lonchocarpus castilloi black cabbage bark (??see also Andira inermis?)
Lycopodium spp club mosses various
Mangifera indica L. mango various
Manihot esculenta cassava, manioc, yuca tuber – starch (can be poisonous, depending on soil where grown)
Mimosa pigra sensitive plant, zarza, dormilona quite thorny, small pink blooms
Monstera deliciosa split leaf philodendron fruit edible
Morinda citrifolia pain killer, Indian mulberry medicinal
Musa acuninata Colla banana, plantain nutricious and great tasting
Myristica . nutmeg, mace spice, mace from thin "shell " of nutmeg
Ormosia spp ormosia spectacular seeds of red and black, very poisonous if macerated, (see jewelry)
Passiflora edulis passion fruit host plants for heliconius butterflies, among most spectacular blooms in the world, passionately good fruit! 
Passiflora various passion fruit Many varieties at Heliconia Haven, see above
Peltophorum pterocarpum . yellow "version" of flamboyant
Persea americana Mill. avocado, aguacate good drainage essential
Petrea volubilis queen’s wreath, sandpaper vine leaves serve as fine sandpaper, has massive & frequent blooms like wisteria
Phaeomeria magnifica torch ginger huge "ginger", stupendous red bloom
Phoradendron . mistletoe another pest
Piper auritum piper, candela leaves medicinal, fruit one of best to attract many species of birds, should be planted everywhere it will grow!
Plumeria acutifolia frangipani white bloom w yellow center
Pouteria campechiana (var Bruce), canistel excellent fruit
Psidium guajava guava very buggy, best grown in chicken yard!!! so many "worms" it is best eaten at night, in the dark!
Pteridophytes many ferns too many to list, plus ID problems...
Saccharum officinarum sugar cane a few stalks for chewing
Sapindus saponaria soap tree a fruit that works like soap
Schizolobium parahyba quamwood fast growing tree, showy yellow flowers
Selaginella . . fern like ground cover, elegant
Spathodea campanulata Beavoi African tulip tree also known as flame of the forest, spectacular mass of orange/red blossoms, Oct-Nov
Swietenia macrophylla mahogany easy to germinate from helicopter type seeds. Can reach 40 ft in 4-5 years, then slow. "worm" attacks crown, destroying heart.  See Heliconia Haven section for discussion.
Tabebuia chrysantha cortes (??guaycan?). "Cortes is forever". A very durable hardwood.  It’s mass of yellow blooms fills the hillsides...  The species blooms simultaneously for two weeks after "trigger" rain.   Excellent for house posts.
Tabebuia pallida or pentaphyl la mayflower attractive pink flowers in "May"
Tamarindus indica L. tamarind fruit, juice, and flowers!
Terminalia catappa L. tropical almond not my favorite
Theobroma cacao cacao, chocolate tree valuable since Pre-classic Maya period. We have 5 varieties and 2000 organic producing trees under canopy.
Thevetia peruviana yellow oleander Also called "be-still" tree in deference to its poisons!
Tillandria usneoides Spanish moss .
Virola sebifera wild nutmeg .
Vochisia hondurensis Sprague yemeri, white mahogany good timber, massive yellow bloom
Zamia various . ( 2 or 3 varieties)

Palms  Living Palm Museum  Palm List  Technical 
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ies: Art Palms Fruit & Seeds
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