“A branch of a plant that stuck into the wall. The rest of the plant grows in the opposite direction.” In San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. By Jimena Lascurain.
Mexico: I’ve never seen the country, or its plants, with my own eyes. I only know the Mexican-American culture and plants that permeated my youth in California, which I loved, such as seeing edible cactus leaves, fresh tortillas and corn husks in every grocery store and eating paper plates of takeout tacos covered in cilantro. I will visit in person some day. But today, let’s travel there visually, via these urban plant photos shared by Jimena Lascurain in Mexico City.
Jimena and I recently met on Instagram, where she shares beautiful views of daily life. She agreed to share with us, here at Urban Plant Research, some favorite photographs of urban plants she’s met at home and on her travels.
“After my trip to Chiapas I returned to Mexico City with this strange and beautiful plant that can be cooked. Its name is Pacaya,” she writes. Pacaya is the blossom of the date palm tree. It must first be poached to remove bitterness, Jimena explained, before being dipped in an egg batter and fried. They are almost too beautiful to eat, I think, but on the other hand, the fritters look pretty good in these pacaya fritter how-to photos.
While traveling in Chiapas, Jimena also noticed this delicate plant tableau in San Cristóbal de Casas. “This is an old palm leaf and a plastic rose forgotten on the side wall of a church. During the festivities for the saints the people makes big floral bouquet with this elements,” she writes. I’m intrigued by how the rays of the sun and the fanned-out palm leaf seem to echo each other, and how nothing in the arrangement is alive. These are urban plants for a hot, dry place.
Catching urban plants in rather different weather, this photo shows “Mexico City just after a big storm. It was taken in April, when Jacaranda trees (Jacaranda mimosifolia) are blooming.” The blossoms have covered hard cement and organic grass alike, softening the man-made sidewalks of the city.
Jimena has made many more beautiful images, but I will stop here and give you the pleasure of exploring the rest on her Instagram feed: @jimenajimena. Thank you, Jimena, for sharing how you see urban plants.