Photographer's Note

Venezuela lays in the northern part of South America, known for its petroleum industry; it distinguishes itself due to the environmental diversity of its territory, and its natural beauty. Christopher Columbus called it Tierra de Gracia (Land of Grace).
The national symbols, besides the flag, coat of arms and its anthem, are represented by flora and fauna officially declared as such by the government. The turpial (Icterus icterus) is the national bird with yellow-orange body colors and its head and the wings black and has a blue spot surrounding the eyes, the turpial is fairly appreciated due to its singing. The Cattleya Mossiae orchid, also known as Flor de Mayo (May Flower) is the National Flower
The posted image shows our national tree, an araguaney (Tabebuia Chrysantha) fully blooming as a sign that the spring has come to the plain and savannas of Venezuela. You never notice it is there until the period following a rainy season in February - April when it flourishes and a golden yellow carpet is displayed. All the leaves fall down and flower on leafless stems, the only thing that remains on the tree are very yellow bright beautiful flowers. Rómulo Gallegos, a notorious Venezuelan writer referred to these months as "La primavera de oro de los araguaneyes" (the golden spring of the araguaneyes).
Called “aravanei” by the caribes (one of the Venezuelan Indian tribes that gave its name to the Caribbean Sea), it can be found mostly in regions with temperate weather. It is an autochthonous tree; it is a big tree and can reach a height between 6 and 12 m.
The tree develops a hard and compact wood, considered among the hardest growing in the American tropic. If a piece drops to the water, it sinks like a rock. This wood has been used for posts and also as sleepers for the rails of the railroads.

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Additional Photos by Rolf Becker (rbeckerb) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 40 W: 24 N: 61] (167)
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