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Posts Tagged ‘Epiphytes’

While touring the Selby gardens I came across a few plants I found very interesting.  First was the PITCHER PLANT. I had seen some before in botanical gardens but didn’t really know much about them. I found out that they live in watery environments where the soil lacks sufficient nutrients. So they use meat as their vitamin pill. Using nectar or bright colors, these plants lure their victims into their hollow pitchers-and almost certain death. The insects fall into a pool of digestive juices that turn them into bug soup. One variety has pitchers big enough to trap birds and rats.

PITCHER PLANT

PITCHER PLANT

PITCHER PLANT

PITCHER PLANT

 Then there were the EPIPHYTES.  Epiphyte is a plant that grows upon another plant (such as a tree).  It doesn’t take water or nutrients from the hosts’ plant, and has no contact with the soil.  They obtain water from dew, moisture in the air, and rainwater, and nutrients from suspended debris and dust transported by the wind or washed off the host plant by rainwater. They are found in a temperate zone and in the tropics.  They are also called air plants.

EPIPHYTES

EPIPHYTES

BROMELIADS are an easy care, fun plant to have. They include such diverse plants as Spanish moss and pineapple.  Many are epiphytes.   Most can be recognized by their overlapping rosette of leaves which retain water; that is why they are commonly called “vase plants.” They have with a different watering technique.  You water directly into the stems where they create a cup to hold the water. Then the water is absorbed down the stem into the plant.

BROMELIAD

BROMELIAD

The ANT PLANT was something I don’t think I have seen before. Plants that are closely associated with ants are called “ant” or “myrmecophilic” plants. This is a mutualistic relationship benefiting both the plant and the ants. The plant provides a protective home to a colony of ants in its swollen leaves, stems or rhizomes in a system of corridors and chambers similar to those in an ant hill. Ants living inside protect the host plant from herbivores (organisms that are adapted to eat plants) and also provide a nutritious compost of waste materials. Seeds of these plants are often disseminated by ants.

ANT PLANT

ANT PLANT

These holes you see in the base of the plant is where the ants enter.

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The weather throughout our  trip was absolutely beautiful. Mostly in the 70’s, getting cooler in the evenings . However, this morning, as I looked out our bedroom window the waves were crashing harder and the sky was cloudy and gray. Shortly after we were on our way the rain started. This was not good as we had planned to stop at Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, a couple of hours away. We drove through light rain then at times heavier and periods of dry, with a slight hit of sun.  As we approached Sarasota the sky was looking lighter and by the time we got to the gardens the sun was out. Luck was really with us.

The Selby Botanical Gardens came to be in the 1970’s when Marie Selby died, leaving the seven-acre peninsula tract containing her home and gardens to the community of Sarasota County for use as a Botanical Garden. It was decided that the garden should specialize in epiphytic plants, that is a plant that grows on another plant without taking anything from the host plant, such as Spanish Moss.

EPIPHYTE PLANT

This made it a unique garden among the more than 200 botanical gardens in the country.

EPIPHYTE PLANT

 Since the garden opened it has expanded to 13 acres. It has a tropical display house, which had a lush rain forest atmosphere,

TROPICAL DISPLAY HOUSE

a bamboo pavilion a banyan grove,

BANYAN GROVE

cactus and succulent garden, mangrove walkway, butterfly garden, Koi pond and waterfall

KOI POND AND WATERFALL

and other outdoor gardens. The garden has a collection of more than 20,000 living plants. It is like an open air museum.

As we walked through the garden my husband said this was like walking through the garden of Eden. At times we came upon an area that opened up to reveal Sarasota Bay.

SARASOTA BAY

On the bay side we walked pass a row of towering bamboo which were planted by Marie.  There was a slight breeze at the time and I think it is the first time I have ever heard the sound of the bamboo in the wind. Some of the trees were creaking others sounded like a wind chime, it was very intriguing, like small notes of summer music.

BAMBOO PAVILION

There was a giant Bo tree. A sign explained how the Hindus and Buddhists believe the Buddha meditated under a Bo tree until he attained enlightenment. The interesting thing about it was that in 2001 a hurricane uprooted the tree. However, thru love and the use of technology the arborists were able to save the tree.  They did this by pruning it back and then using a crane to get it upright again and packing soil around the root system. This way they were able to save the tree.

BO TREE

The home was a modest summer-house for the Selby’s. Although Bill Selby was a multimillionaire they lived a quiet and unostentatious life. Today the house has been turned into a café. There was also the Christy Payne Mansion on the property that currently had an exhibit of women contemporary artists.

We have been through so many gardens and each one has it own distinct character. I never seem to tire of touring them. It is very calming and relaxing for me. I particularly enjoy walking through a garden when there aren’t any other people around to break the serenity of the garden.

There were several orchids blooming, some were very diminutive and not as showy as what we picture when we say orchid. However, they still had all the same characteristics of the larger orchids.

ORCHID

What always amazes me when I am in a warm tropical area is to see the plants I have as small indoor houseplants growing outdoors and many sizes larger than my plants. There was also a larger collection of bromeliads. I had one once and managed to kill it over time. Seeing them with their colorful leaves made me want to try growing one again. My husband commented that he would hate to see what our yard and house would look like if we did live in this warm climate year round.

Also on the property was a building where they had tea sampling. I don’t know how this had anything to do with the garden but I enjoyed it, especially the Goji green tea, and came away purchasing several bags of loose tea.

 

 

 

 

 

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