18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Field Manioc (Zeyheria montana)

This shrub is endemic to the Cerrado of Brazil, a fire-dominated grassland ecosystem that rivals the Amazon in terms of species richness. The Portuguese name for this species, mandioquinha do campo, translates as ‘field manioc’. This is confusing because it is not the true manioc; that would be Manihot esculenta, from a different plant family. However, the name shows a recognition that Zeyheria montana is a wild plant that looks like its cultivated near namesake. Another name for it is bolsa de pastor, inspired by the resemblance of the pod to a bag once used by shepherds. The pod splits in half longitudinally to release its many wind-dispersed seeds.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 02.2020
Date Uploaded: 08.2020
Photo Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Camera: NIKON D850
Copyright: © Levon Biss