A few weeks ago, I told you about some typical animals you may find during your travels on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. Today, I want to tell you about some common plants and flowers you may find as you explore this region of Colombia.
Definitely the most common and frequently seen plant, or tree, along the Caribbean Coast, the palm tree is found in both landscaped areas as well as in wild, natural habitats. While you may have images of tall palm trees bearing coconuts in mind, there are at least 10 different kinds of palm trees you will see frequently on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, if not more. These include spiny palm trees, maripa palms, fan palms, pinnate palms, and palmetto palms among others. It is impossible to not be exposed to these tropical icons while on the Caribbean Coast.
Adding colour to streets all over the coast, bougainvillea is perhaps the most commonly seen flower on the Colombian Caribbean Coast. Found in a variety of colours including red, pink, lilac, yellow, and orange, bougainvillea is a vine with thick branches that is hardy and easy to grow and is thus found sprouting up and growing about all over. While many people use it to decorate their houses and balconies, bougainvillea can also be seen growing wild in many places.
Because the Caribbean Coast of Colombia is a rather dry part of the country, cacti are a common site. While in the cities you may not see cacti on every corner, the further you get outside the bigger cities and the closer you get to the department of la Guajira, the number of cacti as well as the types of cacti you see increase. In fact, once you get into La Guajira, you will eventually come across what appears to be forests of cacti where the only thing you see for miles and miles are story high cacti.
Crown of Thorns
A plant not native to Colombia that has easily adapted to the climate along the Colombian Caribbean coast and that has become a favourite among landscapists there is the Crown of Thorns plant. This plant is rather small and has a thick, thorny stem that at the top has small green leaves and is topped with small, bright pink flowers. Not really emitting any type of smell, this small plant is seen most frequently in landscaping schemes both for houses as well as commercial areas.
Unlike the Crown of Thorns, Plumeria is native to Colombia and emits a very strong and pleasant aroma. Technically a tree, Plumeria is found all over the Caribbean coast, but especially in Barranquilla. Like Bougainvillea, Plumeria flowers come in all sorts of colours including white, pink, yellow, red, and even mixed colour combinations such as pink and yellow. While you can see Plumeria all over and at any time of the day, if you want to truly enjoy the aroma of this pleasant plant, wait until sundown—that is when the aroma is at its strongest.
Happy plant observing,
Paige M Poole,
About the author:
“Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie. You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog http://www.trotamunda.wordpress.com