What's in Bloom?
Common name: parrot Impatiens, candy corn Impatiens
Location in Conservatory: Highlands Gallery
Native to: East Africa
Impatiens niamniamensis is an evergreen, perennial species that usually grows 2 to 3 feet tall. The unusual flowers bloom all year and dangle off the branches like little tropical birds.
An interesting adaptation of this plant is its method of seed distribution. The scientific name Impatiens is Latin for "impatient" and refers to the plant's seed capsules. When the capsules mature, they explode when touched, sending seeds several yards away. The plant growing on the tree trunk in the center planting area is a volunteer, meaning it wasn't planted by the Conservatory staff. It likely grew from a seed that was launched from the plant across the path.
Location in Conservatory: Lowlands Gallery, hanging next to Goldman wall
A dozen flowers make up an inflorescence which hangs from a long stem. Each Bulbophyllum Elizabeth Ann flower includes two sepals that have fused together and look like a tail, an erect hairy sepal on the top of the flower, two small petals on either side of the column, which holds the orchid's reproductive parts, and a pink lip that serves as a landing pad for the orchid's pollinator.
Location in Conservatory: Aquatics Gallery, hanging across from orchid case
Native to: Malaysia, Borneo, Java and Sumatra and east to the Philippines
This medium sized, hot to warm growing epiphytic orchid is found on trees overhanging rivers in the lowland tropics. Lemon-scented yellow flowers grow from long, pendant inflorescences and open simultaneously, creating a spectacular display with hundreds of blooms. The flowers semi-close each night and reopen in the morning with the sunrise.
Common name: pink lantern
Location in Conservatory: Aquatics Gallery, under the Amazon water lily sculpture
Native to: Phillipines
In every stage of its blooming cycle, this Medinilla magnifica is true to its name. The magnificent flower clusters, called “panicles”, begin as a dewdrop-shaped pendant. Protecting the pendant are pink “bracts”, which look like petals but are actually modified leaves. As they unfold, the bracts curl upwards and reveal clusters of tiny pink and purple flowers. The flowers leave behind berry-like pods which remain on the plant for weeks.
Common name: desert rose
Location in Conservatory: Potted Plants on stone table
Native to: Yemen
This odd but beautiful plant comes from an equally odd but beautiful landscape - the island of Socotra in Yemen. One third of the plants on the island are endemic.
Adeniums are appreciated for their colorful flowers, but also for their unusual, thick caudices. A caudex (plural: caudices) of a plant is a stem, but the term is also used to mean a rootstock and particularly a stem structure from which new growth arises. The Adenium is loved by bonsai artists because it is slow growing and has sculptural branches.
Location in Conservatory: Lowlands Gallery next to lobby entrance
Native to: shaded low mountainous terrain in the rain forests of eastern Indonesia, Maluku, and Sulawesi
This gorgeous palm varies from a red crown shaft with maroon leaves, to an orange version with green leaves, and everything in between. It has been observed that there is substantial color variation depending on elevation, with the more colorful plants coming from higher elevations.
This photo shows the three stages of the palm's fruit - the yellow inflorescence emerging, the full-sized but unripe yellow fruit, and the ripe red fruit.
Common name: royal jasmine
Location in Conservatory: Lowlands Gallery, climbing white post across from the Gala display
Native to: Thailand
Jasminum is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family (Oleaceae). It contains around 200 species native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Jasmines can be either deciduous (leaves falling in autumn) or evergreen (green all year round), and can be erect, spreading, or climbing shrubs and vines. This winter-flowering jasmine has some of the largest flowers in the family.
Common Name: Comet Orchid
Location in Conservatory: Aquatics Gallery in a pot on the pond
Native to: Madagascar
Many Angraecum orchids have very long spurs. A spur holds nectar that attracts pollinators. In order to reach the nectar, the pollinator must have a very long proboscis, which is a long appendage on the insect's head. While the insect attempts to get the nectar, other parts of its body pick up or deliver pollen to the orchid's reproductive column.
This, and many other species of Angraecum are critically endangered due to habitat loss and over-collection for trade.
Common name: flaming sword
Location in Conservatory: Aquatics Gallery on upper pond wall
Native to: Venezuela
This species of bromeliad features foliage with brown and white bands growing in a rosette and produces a bright red inflorescence that grows as a flattened spike. Yellow flowers are now emerging, one by one, from the spike.
The flaming sword is widely used as a container plant in indoor commercial sites because it is low maintenance and because its inflorescence lasts for months.
Common name: necklace orchid
Location: Highlands Gallery
Native to: Southeast Asia
Dendrochilum is a genus of about 150 species of orchids. The genus is sometimes known as the necklace orchid because of their pendant-like inflorescences (clusters of flowers on a branch). Some visitors find the distinct fragrance of the miniature, star-shaped flowers pleasant, others a bit strong and musty.
Dendrocilum species grow in higher elevations in the humid rainforests throughout Southeast Asia including New Guinea, Borneo, and Java.