Beautiful paths through the gardens. Photo: Edythe Anstey Hanen

Preserving the Past: The Cactus Gardens of Cadereyta de Montes

If Mexico calls to you with its old-world beauty, its bloody but glorious history, its rich culture and the profound pride and love of life that is reflected in the faces of its people, then like me, you will never tire of searching out the country’s endless natural treasures. From the cathedrals of power to […]

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Native to Mexico and the rest of tropical America, the dwarf poinciana blooms in orange-red and yellow flowers. © Linda Abbott Trapp 2009

Crossandra, mango and jellybean plant: ornamental plants and flowers of tropical Mexico

Common names, scientific names, use and care, cultivation and propagation tips, flowering habits, history and little-known facts for the curious tourist or resident. Family: Acanthaceae Alternate Names: Firecracker Flower. The scientific name is from the Greek, meaning “fringed antlers.” Use: This tropical shrub is originally from India but is widely cultivated for its beautiful, long-lasting flowers. It is […]

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Fuchsia fulgens

Did you know? Many common garden flowers originated in Mexico

Karl Theodor Hartweg (1812-1871) came from a long line of gardeners and had gardening in his genes. Born in Karlsruhe, Germany, on June 18, 1812, he worked in Paris, at the Jardin des Plantes, before moving to England to work in the U.K. Horticultural Society’s Chiswick gardens in London. Keen to travel even further afield, […]

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Did you know? Mexico has over thirty UNESCO-designated biosphere reserves

A surprising percentage of Mexico’s land area is protected in one form or another. A very large number of sites of archaeological or historical importance are managed by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, more commonly known by its acronym INAH. In theory, all buildings more than 100 years old have some degree of […]

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© John McClelland, 2007

Henequen and its role in the Yucatan’s shifting fortunes

There is a beautiful, tree-lined boulevard in Merida, Yucatan called Paseo de Montejo. It provides four lanes for traffic separated by a wide median planted with shrubs and flowers. The sidewalks are wide enough for two further lanes of traffic each way and are interspersed with statuary, benches, conversation chairs and trees. Notwithstanding its charm, […]

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Early map of Lake Chapala (Galeotti, 1837)

Did you know? The first scientific account of Lake Chapala comes from 1839

The first detailed scientific account of Lake Chapala was written by Henri Guillaume Galeotti. It was based on a visit to Chapala in February-March 1837. The article was published first in French in 1839, and then shortly afterwards in Spanish in El Mosaico Mexicano. It remains unclear precisely why Galeotti prepared his excellent article devoted to the […]

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Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo Painting by John James Audubon, 1830

The Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey originated in Mexico

Strange but true; the bird now so closely associated with many festive meals is a direct descendant of the wild turkeys still found in many parts of Mexico. How is it possible that a Mexican bird acquired the name turkey? Turkey The most likely explanation derives from the fact that the merchants who traded in […]

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Did You Know? Birth control pills come from Mexican yams

The oral contraceptive pill, often referred to simply as “the Pill” was officially fifty years old on October 15, 2001. In the words of The Economist: it “was arguably the first lifestyle drug to control a normal bodily function – fertility – rather than a dread disorder. It transformed the lives of millions and helped reshape […]

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