Ethnobotanical garden. / by Ellen Ziegler

Behind the church of Santo Domingo is this garden representing the flora of Oaxaca, which has more native species than any other part of Mexico. Our guide portrayed the country's history through plants. Us plant nerds were in heaven.

Saguaro cactus.

Saguaro cactus.

Kapok tree. Yes, the antique life jackets. It's also the tree that connects Heaven and Earth in indigenous religions.

Kapok tree. Yes, the antique life jackets. It's also the tree that connects Heaven and Earth in indigenous religions.

Cycad, a prehistoric plant. Before gymnosperms and angiosperms.

Cycad, a prehistoric plant. Before gymnosperms and angiosperms.

The Frida Kahlo tree.

The Frida Kahlo tree.

Cuteness in a cactus.

Cuteness in a cactus.

Wall o' cactus.

Wall o' cactus.

White things are the webby casings of the cochineal bug, which makes a brilliant red natural dye.

White things are the webby casings of the cochineal bug, which makes a brilliant red natural dye.

Cochineal bug leaking out. Thinking, next big thing after vermilion?

Cochineal bug leaking out. Thinking, next big thing after vermilion?

Agave, mother of mezcal and tequila.

Agave, mother of mezcal and tequila.