These rare and ancient gymnosperm flowering plants are found in the tropical Chiapas cloud forests in Mexico's southern regions. It is estimated that these plants have been around longer than most flowering plants known today. According to the Nature Conservancy and Viva Natura, cycads were around when dinosaurs roamed the earth more than 2,500 years ago. These plants, according to the World Conservation Union's Cycad Specialist Group, are one of the most threatened plants groups in the world. They are distinguished by their large rough trunks with a bunch of fern-like, pinnate leaves compounding from the top. The flower of a cycad is a large tan, yellow or red colored cone.
The Dahlia imperialis of the family Asteraceae is native to Southern Mexico and is distinguished by its lovely eight oval petals. These petals are a lovely light purple-lavender color with bright yellow centers. The common name implies that these flowers grow on a tree, which it does look like, but is actually a perennial that has very large stalks. These can reach a height of 20 to 30 feet. The flowers grow from these strong stalks, which can resemble bamboo, and have thick, dark green pinnate leaves. The flowers themselves are quite showy as they are large (up to 6 inches across) and grow in dense clusters on the tree's upright branches.
These truly unique, fragrant flowers may be said to resemble a long-legged spider or even a jellyfish with long tentacles. Some people call them "spider lily," "Ismene" or "Sea daffodil." Generally, five longer petals outstretch from behind one central bell-shaped flower. This genus is of the family Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis), which includes 63 known species in the tropical regions of the American Continents. They can be white, cream or light yellow in color. Similar to some red-colored Amaryllis that are commonly grown from bulbs indoors during the winter, these flower from the top of a tall, smooth stalk and generally two to five flowers grow on each stalk.