Chloris and Momordica

Chloris spp.

Chloris and Momordica are two plant species growing in our front and backyard. The Chloris lines the street in front of the house. It is particularly attractive in the morning, when the rising sun highlights the grass’s mauve color. In the province of Galapagos, there are three species of Chloris, also known as Feather Fingergrass. It is uncertain whether any or all of the species are native or introduced. As Julian Fitter’s Wildlife of the Galápagos nicely describes, native means that the specie is “found in the Galapagos and elsewhere, but arrived by natural means.” Introduced indicates a specie that was “brought to Galápagos by man, either deliberately or inadvertently.”

blue rain barrelOut back, where the washbasin is located, there is an abundance of lush, green vines climbing in every direction. Every other day or so, my housemate, Mayra, or I step down among the vines to turn on the water pump. The pump delivers water from a cistern under the house to a covered bright blue rain barrel sitting on a concrete piling approximately twelve feet above ground. A full rain barrel assures a few decent-pressured showers and water in the kitchen and toilets for two or three days. The cistern under the house probably holds a couple hundred gallons of water. If we remember to place the black hose into the grey pipe feeding the cistern, we have an uninterrupted supply of water. When the cistern is full, we kink the black hose and place it between two lava rocks. The water in the black hose, supplied by the town of Puerto Ayora, is turned on at some point each morning. The Puerto Ayora water supply comes from the coastal grietas (crevasses or cracks in Spanish), a semi-saline, non-potable water source.

Momordica flowerOne morning, as I went to turn on the water pump, I noticed what appeared to be brilliant yellow and orange beacons scattered amongst the sea of green vines. I could not resist grabbing the camera and photographing these unusual flowers with their bright red fruit. Momordica charantia, or simply Momordica, is a Galapagos native with lovely fig leaf-shaped leaves. The flowers start out a lemon yellow and then turn orange as they wither and give way to the fruit.

Momordica charantia


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