Myxomatosis in Rabbits

Myxomatosis is a highly contagious viral disease, caused by the myxoma virus, that affects rabbits worldwide.  Among European domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the disease is severe and often fatal. Infected rabbits have a mortality rate of about 90-95% (Ross & Sanders, 1977) to 99% (Hudson et al., 1955). However, in its natural host, a type of …

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Noni (Morinda citrifolia)

Morinda citrifolia is a small tree in the Rubiaceae, or coffee family. It is commonly called noni, Indian mulberry, or cheese fruit. It is native to the South Pacific. Today, noni is cultivated throughout the tropics and is grown commercially in Latin America, Florida, and the West Indies.  Noni produces edible fruits with thin green …

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Useful Ornamental Plants of Vilcabamba

While ornamental plants are appreciated for their beauty, most of these plants have numerous practical applications too. These plants are grown abundantly, yet are rarely utilized. In this post, I’ll be highlighting five very common decorative plants that you’ll see growing in and around Vilcabamba, Ecuador and discussing various ways they are used.   Jacaranda …

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Treating Mite (Sarcoptes scabiei) Infestations in Rabbits

In the five years I’ve been keeping rabbits, I’ve seen a variety of health complications arise, but certainly the most common issue I’ve dealt with is rabbit mites, also known as sarcoptic mange, or Sarcoptes scabiei var. cuniculi.  Sarcoptes scabiei is a mite that burrows deep into the epidermis of its host causing severe itching, …

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Ají (Capsicum pubescens)

Capsicum pubescens is commonly known as rocoto, tree chile, or ají (a less specific name that is used to refer to many kinds of chili peppers). It is cultivated mainly in the high Andes, but is also grown in some parts of Gutatemala and in Southern Mexico, where it is called manzano.  Rocoto produces beautiful red …

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Horchata: A Traditional Ecuadorian Drink

Many people are familiar with Mexican horchata, a creamy, rice based drink.  Ecuadorian horchata, however, is very different.  In Ecuador, horchata refers to an herbal tea — an infusion of flowers & aromatic herbs. It is a traditional drink in the Southern part of the country, particularly in the Loja province, where it’s common to find …

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Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza)

Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza) is an Apiaceae family plant, also commonly known as Peruvian parsnip, apio criollo, zanahoria blanca, or white carrot. It produces fat whiteish roots that looks similar to a parsnip, with white, yellow, or purple flesh. The dark green, sometimes purplish, leaves look somewhat like parsley.  Arracacha is native to the Andean highlands …

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Granadilla (Passiflora ligularis)

Passiflora ligularis, commonly known as granadilla, is a Passion flower species that grows prolifically in our mountainside gardens and in the wild here in Ecuador. It is an attractive climbing vine with large heart-shaped leaves that have a purple-ish tint when young. Its flowers are incredibly beautiful and aromatic.  Granadilla produces oval-shaped orange fruits that …

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