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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.

Victoria lily is flowering today (October 20)

If you’d like to stop by and see this fascinating flower, the Conservatory is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn more about this plant. Sign up for email updates (form in right column, bottom on mobile) and we’ll let you know when the next flower bud opens.

Bill Crepet, chair of the Plant Biology Section took this picture around 6 p.m. Wednesday:


Full length version of the video you watched on social media:

Still ‘Stinky’ – Conservatory open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday

While not as pungent as last night,’Wee Stinky’ still stinks, and looks good this morning.

If you’d like to see (or smell) for yourself, the Conservatory is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

'Wee Stinky' at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.

‘Wee Stinky’ at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.

Flowering tonight! Conservatory hours extended to 9 p.m.

‘Wee Stinky’ has finally decided that tonight is the night to unfurl its spathe, heat up its spadix and release its odors.

We have extended visitor hours until 9 p.m. tonight so that you can come and smell for yourself.

We will also be open on Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Karl Niklas, professor in the Plant Biology Section, talks Titan arums earlier this afternoon.

Karl Niklas, professor in the Plant Biology Section, talks Titan arums earlier this afternoon.

Via CornellCast:

Livestream running

Via CornellCast:

If you can’t be in the Conservatory, the next best thing is to keep tabs on ‘Wee Stinky’ via webcam.

We’ll be watching the plant carefully this afternoon for signs that it might flower tonight. If it does, we’ll announce extended hours until 9 p.m. Sign up for email updates (right column or bottom on mobile) and you’ll be among the first to know.

‘Wee Stinky’ still poised

‘Wee Stinky’ measured 84.5 inches this morning. Growth of the spadix continues to slow, which based on previous flowerings is a good sign that flowering could come any day now.

When exactly? That’s tough to predict. But usually sometime in the afternoon the plant will start to show signs that flowering will begin in full as evening approaches.

When we know for sure, we’ll announce it here and through CALS and other social media, and we will extend visiting hours at the Conservatory until 9 p.m. that evening. As long as the flowering lasts, we will extend visitor hours to 9 a.m. (10 a.m. if it’s flowering on Saturday) to 9 p.m.

If you’d like us to keep you updated, you can sign up for email notifications (right column, bottom on mobile) when we make new posts to this blog.

'Wee Stinky' predawn on Tuesday.

‘Wee Stinky’ predawn on Tuesday.

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