Bromiliads have an amazing capacity to store water. Studies have shown that 175,000 bromiliads sometimes can be found in one hectare (2.5 acres) of forest. That many bromiliads can sequester 50,000 liters (13,000 gallons) of water.
Tillandsia is a genus within the family, and has at least 500 species. They are very widespread, from Virginia to Argentina. They can be found everywhere from the seashore to the desert. The Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas all used bromiliads for food, fibre and ceremonial purposes. They do have roots, but those are used more for gripping tree branches and telephone lines than for gathering nutrients.
Bananas may be the first fruit farmed by humans. They originated in Malaysia from two inedible species which were crossed to form a sterile species that produced edible fruit. The plant was propagated by using shoots from its base. The first edible bananas may have been produced about 2000 BC. They were first brought to the Western Hemisphere by the Spanish Friar Tomas de Berlanga in 1502, and made their way to Mexico after the Conquest.
Adobe is one of the oldest building materials in human history. It is made of easily obtained materials: sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous material, often straw. In spite of the fact that they are made essentially of earth, adobe buildings are extremely durable and account for some of the oldest structures on earth. The bible speaks of the Hebrews making adobe brick for the Egyptian pharoah. Indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere were making adobe for thousands of years before the Conquest, but the Spanish introduced them to the method of forming it into bricks. The Spanish themselves had been using adobe since at least the Late Bronze Age.
Mexican Fence Post. It can grow up to 7 meters (20 ft) tall. Fence Post cactus grows widely in the wild, but is also cultivated as a decorative plant, as well as being used as a very effective fence along the edge of fields (hence the name). At this point in the hike we had almost reached the river. The group above went in search of some waterfalls John Pint had mentioned in his article.
Great Blue Heron fishing from a rock in the middle of Rio Verde. Great Blue Herons are common to my former home in Oregon. In fact, there is even a micro-brewed beer named for them and sold in Portland. Great Blue Herons are the largest species of heron in North America. They can be found everywhere from Alaska to South America.