Mayan Art Depicts Natural Plants

Plants from the Rainforest Decorated Mayan Ceramics. Photo by G. Carr/Justin and Barbara Kerr

The Mayan people were certainly great botanists and artists. They used the images of the beauty of Mother Nature to decorate their ceramics. The natural historian Charles Zidar and botanist Wayne Elisens searched thousands of images of Mayan Art to identify the plants that were depicted.
The quarariba plant (Quararibea funebris or Q. quatemalteca) you see here was painted as a decoration on a cup used for drinking cacao.
Charles Zidar was impressed with the care the artists took to mirror the plants they copied in their art. “These plants are not as stylised as previously thought, and thus you can name the plant family, genus and even the species.”
The rainforest plants still used as medicine by the Mayan people brought many pharmaceutical companies seeking to identify the healing chemical components.

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