It is more or less a place of biblical beauty, especially to a bunch of sweaty, bug-bitten scientists staggering out of the wild jungle- Las Cruces Biological Station and the Wilson Botanical Gardens.
We spent two days recuperating from chiggers and watching birds in the gardens, taking a bit of time to learn some plant taxonomy and work on papers. My favorite hours there were spent just exploring and then finding somewhere to sit and contemplate among the plants.
Lots of cool stuff to see:
This very suspicious nest-building parrot-
And this ethereal-looking butterfly-
It was good to have a bit of time to chill out and be comfortable- hot showers, clean sheets, no mosquito nets necessary, and some other undergraduates from a non-Dartmouth, OTS course in tropical biology to chat with. I also found out what our mystery evil-plant is! It’s in the family Loasaceae, an old group sort of related to thistles (thus the bristles) and magnolias (thus the flowers). The species name is Nasa speciosa. It’s nice to have a name to put to at least one of the two Cuericí study organisms! Apparently all of the specimens of this plant (and there aren’t many) were collected within a mile of where we found ours.
Hooray for science, and hooray for hot showers!