Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca

One of the most informative tours in Oaxaca for me was the one at Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca. I waited until I had been living in Oaxaca for about 2 weeks before taking the tour and I’m glad I did, because by then I knew a bit more about some of the more commonly used herbs, vegetables, and plants in the region. The tour gave me a chance to learn more about them and also see how they grow.

I went to the earliest tour offered at 10AM to avoid the heat as much as possible. I had my hat with me but the office had plenty of sombreros for those in need.

IMG_3940When I arrived I visited the Museum of Oaxacan Cultures and Santo Domingo Cultural Center next door, so I had already seen how lovely the grounds were at this garden. I think even if you’re not a plant-lover this would be a great place to spend an hour or two. Note that you can only see the garden with a tour or when they have special events. Here is our tour guide-

IMG_3945He started us off with some of the native plants like chipilín (totally new to me but used often in Oaxacan cooking),
IMG_3949 amaranth,

IMG_3950and chia. By the way, chia is everywhere in Oaxaca and my favorite little courtyard cafe served a refreshing lemon-basil-chia drink. Thanks to E. for introducing me to the place!

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We passed by some very large pumpkins and new squashes.

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Pochote tree with sharp thorns!

IMG_3961 IMG_3962Giant biznaga cactus. Biznaga was also the name of one of the restaurants I went to often for lunch in Oaxaca.
IMG_3963Cactus tree. This tree was tremendous.
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Copal wood is used for alebrijes in Oaxaca. Alebrijes are brightly painted sculptures, usually of animals. Here is more info on alebrijes from wikipedia.

IMG_3970 IMG_3971Beautiful grounds of the Ethnobotanic Garden of Oaxaca. IMG_3972 IMG_3973 IMG_3982 IMG_3984 IMG_3985 IMG_3986Cactus fruit, prickly pear, or in Spanish, tuna. It’s a popular ice cream flavor in Oaxaca in the summer time but they can be consumed in variety of ways.

IMG_3989IMG_3991 IMG_3990 Plumeria or flor de mayo. Our guide told us that there are over 100 names for this flower. In Zapoteco, it’s called cacaloxóchitl. I had to look up the spelling…

IMG_3999I had a great time walking through the garden. I’d love to return and see what the garden looks like in the fall or winter…

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Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca: Reforma s/n esq. Constitución, Centro, Oaxaca, Mexico;  www.jardinoaxaca.org.mx

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