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Titan arum leafing out

'Wee Stinky'-- one of two flowering-sized Titan arums in the Conservatory's collection -- has broken dormancy and is beginning its vegetative stage (NOT flowering) in the Palm House near the doorway to the Student House.

‘Wee Stinky’– one of two flowering-sized Titan arums in the Conservatory’s collection — has broken dormancy and is beginning its vegetative stage (NOT flowering) in the Palm House near the doorway to the Student House.

‘Wee Stinky’ — one of two flowering-sized Titan arums (Amorphophallus titanum) in the Conservatory’s collection — has broken dormancy and is beginning its vegetative stage.

It’s not flowering, but sending up the single leaf (already more than 4 feet tall and growing 2 to 3 inches a day) that will top out near the rafters in the Conservatory’s Palm House.

For a year or more, the leaf will convert the sun’s energy through photosynthesis into starches stored in the arum’s underground corm to fuel the next flowering.

You can view the expanding leaf in the Palm House near the doorway to the Student House.

View time-lapse video from the last time ‘Wee Stinky’ flowered in October 2016.

Learn more about the lifecycle of Titan arums at Cornell’s Titan arum website.

 

 

Featured plant: Combretum indicum (syn. Quisqualis indica)

rangoon creeper Combretum indicum (syn. Quisqualis indica)
Commonly known as Rangoon creeper or Chinese honeysuckle, this vine grows up to 25 feet long. It is native to Asia but found in many other parts of the world as an ornamental, or has escaped cultivation to become naturalized.

It’s flowers are fragrant, with a sweet, fruity aroma that some find suggestive of Jolly Rancher candies.

The the tubular flowers open white at dusk attracting hawk moths with long tongues that can reach the nectar. They turn pink on the second day and red on the third, attracting birds, bees and other pollinators active during daytime. The flowers also go from horizontal to pendant during this transition.

Translated from Latin, its original genus name Quisqualis means Who? What? This probably stems from confused early botanists who observed it as both a shrub, which it resembles early in its youth, and later in its life as a rambling vine.

Look for it sprawling over the vestibule at the south end of the Palm House.

 

CU Alumni appreciate the Conservatory during Reunion Weekend

Reposted from Discovery That Connects, the School of Integrative Plant Science blog:

Cornell alumni, some visiting campus for the first time since creation of SIPS and opening of the new Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory, had an opportunity to learn more during the midday Botany and Plant Sciences Alumni gathering on Saturday June 10.  Visiting alumni were treated to refreshments including just-harvested Honeoye strawberries from Marvin Pritts, historical photos and videos, and conversation with current faculty and staff.

Midday tours were also provided in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory where visitors could view the newly opened Victoria Lily among many other attractions.

Victoria lily poised to flower

Victoria lily at 7 a.m. June 9.

Victoria lily at 7 a.m. June 9.

The Victoria lily (Victoria x ‘Longwood Hybrid’) in the Palm House water feature is poised to flower, perhaps the evening of June 9.

The Conservatory will be open during the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) Alumni Gathering Saturday, June 10 from 11:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m. in G22 Plant Science.

Learn more about the Victoria lily.

Stop by for a study break!

There are always plenty of plants to engage with at the Conservatory. Of particular note now:

Brownea spp. flowering in the Palm House low on the tree for great viewing. If you can’t make it before this flower fades, there’s another bud adjacent to it poised to bloom.  (View Brownea time-lapse video.)

Brownea spp.

Brownea spp.

There’s a new Victoria x ‘Longwood Hybrid’ water lily in all it’s spiny glory in the water feature in the Palm House. It’s not flowering yet, but it is thriving since its move from a tub the Plant Science greenhouse. (View Victoria lily time-lapse video.)

New Victoria lily in the water feature in the Palm House.

New Victoria lily in the water feature in the Palm House.

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.

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