Monday, November 30, 2009

Greenhouse specimens at Montreal Botanic Garden

Montreal Botanical Garden’s greenhouses are bursting with rare blooms. On October 6 I’d posted about the agave plant, Mauritius hemp (Furcraea foetida) that was about to bloom. Now it has (pictured at left). The many star-shaped flowers, about 5 to 7 cm across, are blooming for the first and last time, over a period of several weeks. Once it has finished flowering, the plant will gradually die back, as is the case for most members of this family. On display in the Arid Regions Greenhouse.

What else can you see right now? A tree dahlia (Dahlia imperialis), on display for just a few more days, reached 3.5 metres in a single season; unique bromeliads in bloom in the Tropical Rainforest Greenhouse; the enormous parts of the elephant foot yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius var. campanulatus) in the Orchids and Aroids Greenhouse; the iridescence of the blue strap fern (Microsorum thailandicum), a member of the Polypodiaceae family, thought to be due to the presence inside the leaves of thin layers of cells whose thickness or shape reflects certain wavelengths of light (in the Ferns Greenhouse); and False holly (Osmanthus heterophyllus), with leaves almost identical to those of a real holly plant, but with highly scented flowers, on display in the Garden of Weedlessness (penjing) Greenhouse. More at


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