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Finca Tangara Vivero and Landscape Consulting


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December 30, 2015

To: the Boquete Community

From: Peter Sterling, Finca Tangara.

This is a reminder that our vivero is again offering various trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers for various objectives: ground cover, windbreak, decoration, reforestation, to attract birds and butterflies. We have limited quantities and lack many interesting plants, but at a customer’s request, we will find seeds or cuttings. We also offer landscape consulting and pruning lessons – we will visit your site. 

     As in 2015, all proceeds are donations to the Biblioteca de Boquete – to build its endowment fund.

We await your inquiries or orders:

psterlin@gmail.com; 6652-2763

For photos google the scientific name (where given) or consult https://ctfs.arnarb.harvard.edu/webatlas/findinfo.php?specid=5833&leng=english. This Smithsonian atlas is very helpful for identifying by local names, leaf patterns, seeds, etc.


corpuchí. Fast growing, bushy when pruned; unobtrusive flowers and fruit in dry season attract birds (e.g tanagers, parakeets).


cipré. (cyprus). Handsome, dense foliage, easily topped to maintain density. Fairly rapid growth.


pine. Rapid growth, gets very tall; good shade and aroma, but not much for birds.


eucalyptus pintado (Eucalyptus deglupta). Rainbow-colored bark, straight and tall trunk, branching high, grows fast.



Cover crop

velvet bean (Macuna pruriens) -- legume cover crop for restoring exhausted soil and protecting hillsides against erosion. Good forage for cattle and goats.  Seeds are available.  


Reforestation/landscaping/attract birds

roble (Tabebuia rosea). Heart-stopping pink or white blooms that last a month or more Dec-May. Handsome arbor with heart-shaped leaves.  If topped when young, it grows like a candelabra.


guayacan (Tabebuia ochracea). Beautiful form (similar to roble), brilliant yellow blooms March. (grows in Palmira ~ 1100m/3300ft). Lowland species (T. guayacan) is similar.


orchid tree (Bauhinia variagata). Legume. Smallish tree; white or purple-pink flowers remininscent of orchids. Flowers all through dry season into rains.


macano (Diphysa americana). Legume Deeply furrowed, rough bark. Brilliant yellow, pea-like blossoms December-January. Hard wood. Legume, so good for soil. Used for living fence as well as reforestation.


palo machete (Erythrina lanceolata). Legume. Clusters of scarlet, machete-shaped flowers, heart-shaped leaves. Seed pods gnarled and twisted with red beans inside.  Used for living fences and as coffee shade and nitrogen fixer (legume).  Birds eat the flowers and pierce them for nectar.


poró (Erythrina poeppigiana). Legume. Spectactular orange flowers  November-March.  Tanagers, orioles. Legume good for coffee shade; improve soil by fixing nitrogen. Large stands bloom in the hills above Boquete. Look upward!


The Erythrinas not only fix nitrogen, but produce a rich leaf litter and make great animal fodder.


african tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata , flame of the forest, llama del bosque). Gorgeous scarlet flowers year round, grows fast; soft wood. May be invasive along the Canal, but no evidence of spreading in Chiriqui.


yellow trumpet flower (Tecoma stans). Beautiful blooms + fruit beloved by birds. Grows fast, can get fairly large, but can be controlled by pruning.


Macrocnemum roseum – bright pink flowers; trunk with interesting fluted growth pattern.


corotú (Enterolobium cyclocarpum). Spectacular spreading branches (most beautiful specimens along the Interamerican), but grows well in Palmira. Beautiful dark green foliage; seed pods resembling human ears; legume.


guabo (Inga).  Several species. Legume used for coffee shade and nitrogen fixing.  Flowers Jan-April. On our farm flowers attract orioles, honey creepers, humming birds, tanagers.  Attractive, spreading canopy and thick foliage.  Grows fast.


nance (Byrsonima crassifolia). Gracefully branched with flat canopy (reminiscent of African savanna).  Orange-yellow flowers March-June. Does well in old pasture with poor soil. Fruit eaten locally.  


cedro amargo (Cedrela odorata). Attractive, shiny foliage; fine wood used for cabinetry and furniture.  


mameicillo (Quercus xx) . Grows huge from gigantic acorns. Flourishes at 1000m and above.  Some very old, magnificent specimens along Pipeline and Quetzal trails.


mata hombro (Cornus disciflora). Tall, handsome; dogwood family; quetzals eat the fruit. Flourishes at 1000m and above. Fast growing.   


Lauracea (avocado and relatives)

sigua (Nectandra cuspidata) – grows well around 1000+meters (Boquete and Palmira). Clusters of pale flowers (late Jan-February); then small, avocado-like fruit beloved by numerous tanagers, parakeets, etc. 


aguacatillo (Bielschmiedia pendula). Grows along the Pipeline Trail, Culebra Trail, and Quetzal Trail in Bajo Mono. Above 1500 meters.  Favorite food of quetzals and other trogons.  Fruiting heavily at 1800meters in March. If you live high in Jaramillo, Palo Alto, Alto Quiel, it’s a must. 


Bambito ( ) – same family, larger fruit. Cultivated at Quetzales Lodge and Cerro Punta.  


guarumo (Cecropia obtusifolia). First to establish itself as second growth, does fine in poor soil.  Trunk ringed with leaf-scars, branching and leaving at top, with dangling, spaghetti-like flowers in canopy.  Feeds birds, sloths, howler monkeys. At first sight can be confused with papaya.  A signature “tropical” tree.  Grows fast, soft wood.


guava (in Spanish, guayava).  Small tree, native to Central America. Fruit great for jelly and sauces if you pick it before larval infestation. Most appeal is for its shapely form and patterned bark. Often parasitized by mata palo, fatally so unless care is taken to remove it.


jamaican nettle (Trema micrantha). Fast growing, short-lived "pioneer" tree; good for birds. Grows well above 1000m. Good for reforestation of old pasture because grows fast, improves soil conditions, then gives way to longer lived trees interplanted[PS1] .


Decorative flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies

butterfly weed (Asclepias curassavica). A tropical milkweed. Grows perennially and self-seeds, spreading but not aggressive.  Attracts monarch butterflies whose handsome larvae feed on the leaves.


lantana (Lantana camara). Flower nearly indistinguishable from milkweed, but plant has square stems. Blooms perennially. Butterflies and hummers.


porterweed, verbena (Stachytarpheta franztsii). Perenial, blooms year round, attracts butterflies and hummers.


DO NOT plant the local morning glory. Beautiful but powerfully invasive.


Decorative shrubs

powderpuff (Calliandra haematocephala). Handsome shrub with ever-blooming bright red, puffy blossoms. Hummers.


coral bush (Jatropha multifida). Handsome shrub with red blooms that take the form of coral.  Easily grown.


marmalade bush, sombrero chino (Streptosolen jamesonii). Brilliant orange flowers for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Ever-blooming, grows all over Boquete.


golden dew drop (Duranta erecta). Green leaves with purple flowers, green leaves with white flowers, varigated leaves with purple flowers - all with yellow berries. Hummingbirds like the flowers, other birds like the fruit.


fire bush, zorillo real (Hamelia patens). Shrub to treelet (can be pruned back). Red-orange tubular flowers. Hummers like the flowers, tanagers,etc like the fruit.  In habits sunny forest gaps or disturbed ground; excellent for native-species landscaping.



Navel orange (Washington)


Sour orange (naranja agria, Citrus aurantium)

Avocado (mantequilla)

Uchuva (cape gooseberry). tart/sweet yellow fruit; looks like cherry tomato

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