Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the October 13, 2008 Newsletter written in Yokdzonot about half an hour by bus west of Pisté, Yucatán, México

With more annual rainfall the air here is softer and the landscape lusher. Even the most desperate looking huts usually are surrounded by beautiful assemblages of flowering plants. One of the prettiest blossoms is shown below:

Chinese Hibiscus, HIBISCUS rosa-sinensis

That's the Chinese Hibiscus, HIBISCUS rosa-sinensis, a much branching, ten-ft-high shrub in full flower here, its red blossoms shockingly vivid against dark green, leafy backgrounds. The species comes from tropical Eastern Asia but now is planted in the tropics worldwide.

In the picture, the long, slender thing dangling from the crimson corolla is the "staminal column," stamens being a flower's male parts. The many items looking like pink matchsticks with yellow heads are the stamens, the yellow, spherical items being the pollen- holding anthers and the pink stems the filaments. Emerging from the cylindrical staminal column at the very bottom are five style branches, each terminated by a globular stigma. Stigmas are where pollen grains germinate and send their male-sex-germ pollen tube, root-like, down through the slender style inside the staminal column, to the ovary deep at the flower's bottom.