Pop Quiz #3!

Test your knowledge on the flora and fauna growing along UGACR campus trails and throughout the Monteverde Cloud Forest here in Costa Rica. You never know when a trivia night will call for tropical ecology facts…

True or False?

This powder puff plant, Calliandra bijunga, does not have medicinal properties:

PowderPuff

Ok, it’s sort of a trick question.

The answer depends on whether or not you have a holistic approach to healing.

Rubbing, crushing, mixing or brewing any components of this flower will not cure symptoms. Rather, the bright pink and white pom-poms, perched on branches like sea urchins out of water, and their lively green leaves, serve an ornamental purpose. The powder puff plant playfully greets visitors at the medicinal garden’s entrance. The seemingly weightless flowers tickle the surrounding air with even the slightest gust of wind. Growing sporadically throughout the garden, the long branches reach out, its feathery leaves reaching to pet each passerby.

It has been said that laughter is the cheapest medicine; the powder puff may not make you laugh, per se, but if you catch yourself smiling in the presence of this aesthetically pleasing plant, it may in fact be an appropriate prescription for either a mentally or physically cloudy day.

Blog contribution by Alex Fylypovych, UGA Costa Rica Photojournalism Intern

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