Tall PANDANUS Trees,
Some Of Them Supported By A Hundred And More Long Stilted Roots, Which
Rose Many Feet Above Our Heads, Reared Their Crowns Of Ribbon-Like
Leaves Above Even Some Of The Giants Of The Forest.
Palms of all shapes
and sizes, dwarfed, tall, slender and thick, surrounded us on every
side, and at least three different species of climbing palms scrambled
over the tallest trees.
The tree trunks were hidden by climbing ferns
and by a white variegated fleshy-leafed POTHOS. Orchids, though not
numerous, were by no means scarce on the branches of some of the
larger trees, and were intermixed with many curious and beautiful
ferns. There were many large-leafed tropical plants somewhat resembling
the HELICONIAS and MARANTAS of tropical America.
Flowers were not very plentiful, but here and there the forest
would be literally ablaze with what is said to be the most showy
flowering creeper in the world, huge bunches of large flowers of so
vivid a scarlet that Monckton and I agreed no painting could do them
justice. It is sometimes known as the DALBERTIA, but its botanical name
is MUCUNA BENNETTI. It has been found impossible to introduce it into
cultivation. Among other flowers were some very large sweet-scented
CRINUM lilies and some very pretty pink flowering BEGONIAS, with their
leaves beautifully mottled with silver. Here and there we would notice
a variegated CROTON or pink-leafed DRACAENA, but these were uncommon.
As we proceeded, I noticed that in spite of the very dry weather
we had been having, the ground each moment became more moist, which
indicated that we were approaching the swamps we had heard about.
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