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Brownea flowering again

Stop by the Conservatory soon if you’d like to see the spectacular display of our Panama Flame Tree or Rose of Venezuela (Brownea spp.)

This small evergreen tropical tree is a native of South and Central America where it grows in the rainforest understory and is used as a source of medicine, wood and handicrafts. It is a member of the Fabaceae plant family.

The flower is short-lived and will likely fade in a few days. But if you miss it this time, it’s been flowering every few months since moving into the Conservatory’s Palm House near the water feature.

Brassia spp. (spider orchid)

Brassia spp. (spider orchid)

Brassia spp. (spider orchid)

Brassia is a genus of commonly cultivated orchids that are native to Central and South America. They have flowers with long and spreading tepals which lend them the common name spider orchid.

The resemblance is key to their pollination strategy. Female spider-hunter wasps mistake the flowers for spiders, sting the lip of the flower and try to grasp the ‘prey’ without success. Doing so, they contact the pollinarium, which sticks to its head, then hopefully attacks another Brassia flower and pollinates it.

 

IHS visits LHBC

60 Ithaca High School students visited the Conservatory March 10, where research support specialist Ed Cobb and SIPS assistant director Magdalen Lindeberg (disguised as Marie Antoinette) helped them make connections between plants and the French Revolution.

Marie Antoinette played a big role in popularizing potatoes in France, and even favored their flowers.

Marie Antoinette played a big role in popularizing potatoes in France, and even favored their flowers.

Cobb explains how the  L′Orangerie du Château de Versailles made it possible for French nobility to enjoy citrus fruits far outside the plants' native range.

Cobb explains how the L′Orangerie du Château de Versailles made it possible for French nobility to enjoy citrus fruits far outside the plants’ native range.

After the history lesson, IHS students explored the rest of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory collection.

After the history lesson, IHS students explored the rest of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory collection.

Cobb and Lindeberg

Cobb and Lindeberg with potato flowers

Brownea timelapse

If you missed the flowering last week of the Brownea spp. in the Palm House (no one was there to witness it Wednesday night), you can watch the dance in this video

Flowering now: Brownea spp. (Panama Flame Tree, Rose of Venezuela)

Flowering now: Brownea spp. (Panama Flame Tree, Rose of Venezuela)

Brownea spp. (Panama Flame Tree, Rose of Venezuela)

Stop by the Conservatory before the weekend if you’d like to see the spectacular display of our Panama Flame Tree or Rose of Venezuela (Brownea spp.)

This small evergreen tropical tree is a native of South and Central America where it grows in the rain forest understory and is used as a source of medicine, wood and handicrafts. It is a member of the Fabaceae plant family.

The flower is short-lived and will likely fade by the weekend. But if you miss it this time, it’s been flowering every few months since moving into the Conservatory’s Palm House near the water feature.

Flowering now: Pseudobombax ellipticum (Shaving Brush Tree)

Flowering now (February 10): Pseudobombax ellipticum (Shaving Brush Tree) in the Palm House near the door to the Student House. The Central American native is covered with buds, promising an extended flowering season.

Pseudobombax ellipticum

Pseudobombax ellipticum

Nature photographers visit LHBC

Click on slider images for larger view:

 

Members of the Cayuga Nature Photographers group visited the Conservatory February 4 to sharpen their skills and share techniques in the warm confines of the glasshouse. Group members range from beginners to accomplished professionals. They meet monthly and sponsor outing to help improve each other’s skills.

Additional images from the group’s newsletter editor Paul Schmitt:

Photo by Paul Schmitt

Photo by Paul Schmitt

Photo by Paul Schmitt

Photo by Paul Schmitt

Angraecum sesquipedale (Darwin’s Orchid) in flower

Angraecum sesquipedale

Angraecum sesquipedale

Angraecum sesquipedale — also known as Darwin’s orchid, Christmas orchid, Star of Bethlehem orchid, and King of the Angraecums — is flowering this week in the Student Room of the Conservatory. (Look for it on the east bench.)

But its story began 150 years earlier when Charles Darwin first observed the flower’s foot-long nectary and famously wondered: “Good Heavens, what insect can suck it?”

Darwin’s fascination with Angraecum sesquipedale — and with answering this question — led him to predict a species of moth with a proboscis capable of extending 10 to 11 inches, able to reach the flower’s nectar reserves. To explain the phenomenon, Darwin suggested an arms race of sorts resulting in flowers with perpetually lengthening floral tubes, and moths with perpetually lengthening tongues — a prediction that represents one of his major contributions to evolutionary biology.

Read more.

Despite the short days, there are other interesting plants in flower in the Conservatory.

We’re open this week (Dec. 19-23) 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We’re closed along with the rest of Cornell Dec. 24 through Jan. 2, reopening Jan. 3.

A good week to visit LHBC

Feeling stressed? Stop by the Conservatory this week. It’s safe. It’s warm. It’s green. It’s alive.

It’s open 10 to 3 weekdays. Explore and reflect.

And there’s always something in bloom …

Stanhopea jenischiana

Stanhopea jenischiana

Passiflora spp.

Passiflora spp.

sarracenia spp.

Sarracenia spp.

Medinilla myriantha

Medinilla myriantha

Water garden in the Palm House

Water garden in the Palm House

Time lapse videos of Wee Stinky’s 2016 flowering

If you visited during the latest flowering, you only saw a snapshot. These videos will help you take in the whole process:

‘Wee Stinky’ first night – October 14, 2016. Approximately 10 hours compressed into 25 seconds.

‘Wee Stinky’ third flowering – October 14, 2016. Approximately 34 hours compressed into 80 seconds.

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