The site is updated on a regular basis with new posts that cover a variety of subjects relating to ornamental tropical horticulture and the natural history of the New World tropics.

 Please check back here often to find out what has just been posted and what we are currently working on.

Scarlet (or not) Sophronitis: The Return of the Red hots - September 09, 2019

Red is a color particularly prized by gardeners in general and orchid growers in particular. Those orchid genera that contain relatively high numbers of red-flowered species, such as Disa, Masdevallia, Epidendrum and Sophronitis, are extremely popular with collectors and breeders. (Read more…)

Bonsai Ant Plants? - July 17, 2019

The bonsai succulent movement – and the kitschy decorator trend that it inadvertently spawned - appears to have originated more or less simultaneously in England and southern California in the early 1980s. (Read more…)

They’re the Pits - June 20, 2019

Pitcairnias are a very diverse group of bromeliads that is woefully under-represented in plant collections and tropical gardens. (Read more…)

Arachnofeel-YAAGGHH!! - May 20, 2019

Arachnofilia? Is this really a “thing”?

You betcha! While most of the world either fears, loathes or are indifferent to them, there are a surprising number of folks around the world that collect live exotic spiders in their homes. (Read more…)

B&W Photography as Botanical Illustration - April 27, 2019

Botanical illustration is the art of depicting plants and their parts with such detail and precision that it can be used for taxonomical reference purposes. (Read more…)

Microgrammas - New World Snakeferns - April 15, 2019

Neotropical snakeferns (Microgramma, Polypodiaceae) are handsome, interesting and easily-grown additions to almost any plant collection. (Read more…)

The Definitive Guide to Velvet Leaf Anthuriums in Cultivation - March 20, 2019

Among ornamental tropical aroids, velutinous/velvety upper leaf surfaces are fairly ubiquitous across both the family and within many popular genera. (Read more…)

Pinguicula mesophytica - Purple Rainforest - March 01, 2019

One of the more recent and attractive carnivorous plant introductions is the spectacular-flowered northwestern Central American orchid butterwort, Pinguicula mesophytica. (Read more…)

Central American and Panamanian Cycads in Field and Greenhouse - February 17, 2019

Cycads are a very old and varied gymnosperm division that are popular with tropical gardeners and collectors of offbeat plants. (Read more…)

The White-striped Agaves: A Gallery of Desert Dazzle - February 01, 2019

As interest in cacti and succulents revs up worldwide and more desirable species and hybrids become available than ever before, a few plants continue to stand out despite more than a century in continued cultivation. (Read more…)

Snake Dancing in the Western Guatemalan Highlands - January 21, 2019

Welcome to the K’iche’ Altiplano. (Read more…)

Lycaste virginalis - From Wet Nurse to White Nun - January 5, 2019

Among the most celebrated Neotropical orchids is Guatemala’s national flower, Lycaste virginalis f. alba. Known in the region as “La Monja Blanca” (the white nun) this pure white or mostly white-colored form of a usually pink-flowered species is a no-holds-barred, spectacular bloom in life. (Read more…)

Middle American Epiphytic Cacti Part I: Disocactus and Related - December 1, 2018

Epiphytic and hemiepiphytic cacti (Family Cactaceae, tribe Hylocereeae) are some of the most interesting understory plants of Neotropical ecosystems. (Read more…)

Columnea: Some Parrot Feather Foliage - November 24, 2018

It is a rather curious fact that – despite the family’s longstanding global popularity as windowsill, terrarium and greenhouse plants - some of the most attractive gesneriads have eluded ornamental horticulture until relatively recently. (Read more…)

Meet Los Esotéricos - November 21, 2018

For those wondering who’s behind the words and images on Exotica Esoterica, some photos from the workplace in our Latin American offices. (Read more…)

Neotropical Blueberries - November 14, 2018

Among the many once-obscure groups of plants that have been popularized by “the internet effect” are New World lowland tropical and cloud forest members of the Ericaceae family, now commonly known as “Neotropical blueberries”…(Read more)

The Passionflorist - October 17, 2018

You don’t need a lot of space to grow passion flowers, unless you grow a lot of them.

Gustavo Morales grows a lot of them…(Read more)

The Secret Lives of Mesoamerican Slipper Orchids - October 13, 2018

Slipper orchids (Subfamily Cypripedioideae) are a very popular group of plants in cultivation. The search for novelties and rare slipper orchid species has launched many ships since the 1800's…(Read more)

Nepenthes veitchii - October 3, 2018

Among the bewildering array of remarkable Nepenthes species in cultivation today, a few of the discoveries from the 19th century still stand out. The unique Bornean endemic, N. veitchii, is among the best of them…(Read more)

A Field Guide to the Fantasy Aloes of North America - September 28, 2018

Dwarf “fantasy aloes”, otherwise known as “tabletop aloes”, “eccentric” dwarf aloes or “Kelly Griffin-type” aloes, are very much in vogue now as part of the larger global succulent craze… (Read more)

Aroids: A Slideshow - September 22, 2018

A presentation given recently on aroid diversity, conservation priorities and cultivation…(Read more)

Anthurium wendlingeri  Velvet Leaf, Pendent Panamanian Prize - August 24, 2018

Among the many striking tropical aroids in cultivation, a well-grown Anthurium wendlingeri is a definite standout in any collection...(Read more)

WTF? (What's That Flower?) - August 23, 2018

Just to hone your botanical identification skills, once a month we'll post a photo of flower/s that are definitely not from your local garden center...(Read more)

Orchid Addiction? Tips to get Sobr (alia) - August 21, 2018

Mention "Sobralia" to most orchid growers and they will probably groan and roll their eyes...(Read more)

The Big Five: Commonly-cultivated Caudexed Ant Plants - August 17, 2018

I must admit that the caudexed ant plants (Rubiaceae, subtribe Hydnophytinae) from Malesia, New Guinea, Fiji and northeastern Australia need a snappy new name. “Ant plant” is too vague a term to circumscribe them...(Read more)

Platycerium madagascariense  Waffles and Dream - August 14, 2018

Platycerium madagascariense is a remarkable and very sought-after staghorn fern species. (Read more...)

Páramo - August 12, 2018

When E.C. Pielou wrote the chapter on Nunataks, Refugia and Relicts in her textbook entitled “Biogeography” (1979), she was clearly thinking of Greenland, Canada and Scandinavia. When I read it, the term “nunatak” immediately caught my attention, since the description gave me the perfect mental image I’ve always had of the origin of páramos since my first visit to these extraordinary biotopes as a child. (Read more...)

La Casa De Los Cusucos - August 6, 2018

From early 1994 onward through late 2014, my home in a quiet, wooded neighborhood in the once aptly-named Vista Hermosa area of Guatemala City, Guatemala was where I began an informal apprenticeship on how to grow delicate tropical plants under the challenging conditions that outdoors cultivation can pose anywhere. (Read more...)