The Exquisite Corpse of “Immortal Stranger,” aka Tulipan Africana & Meaito

The Exquisite Corpse of “Immortal Stranger,” aka Tulipan Africana & Meaito

Drawn by Cassie Thornton, Chemi Rosado-Seijo and Jose Tony Cruz


The Immortal Stranger is a beautiful and subversive flowering tree commonly found in the tropics, with bright red flowers and seed pods that hold water. First found by Europeans in Ghana in the late 18th Century, it currently thrives in Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Fiji, India, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar, Hawaii, and the Philippines. It grows quickly, and when it takes root it is almost impossible to suppress. For its widespread migration and reproduction, the botanical ‘terrorist’ has been added to the list of the 100 ‘World’s Worst’ invaders. The plant’s subtle powers of revenge through healing are not yet understood outside of its countries of origin; the bark, flowers, and leaves are used in traditional medicine in its native home range to heal burns and cure malaria. Its nectar is also popular with the Black Jacobin.Cassie Thornton