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Blooming in the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory
By Nick Daniel, Horticulturist on Apr 29, 2010
One of my favorite aspects of working in horticulture is seeing flower buds beginning to grow and swell on newly acquired plants and on plants that rarely bloom or take forever to bloom. Well, right now is one of those exciting times for me. We have two of these special plants beginning to bloom right now.
Our massive Alcantarea brasiliana is just starting to send up its massive inflorescence. It takes years for this plant to reach blooming size, so you won't want to miss it. When in full, spectacular bloom, A. brasiliana flower spikes can reach up to six and a half feet high and last for eight to twelve months! Alcantarea brasiliana is a member of the Bromeliaceae or Bromeliad family, and as the name indicates it is endemic to Brazil. You will find our large specimen towards the South West end of the Boettcher Tropical Conservatory on the south side of the path...it will be hard to miss.
The newly acquired and planted Medinilla magnifica has buds beginning to swell on it, and we are all excited about this. The showy pink floral bracts lead nicely into light pink flowers which will develop into bright pink berries shortly after pollination. Again, you don't want to miss this one. The M. magnifica will be found as soon as you enter the Boettcher Tropical Conservatory in the middle of the first large bed right next to the pond. Enjoy!
Aside from new plants and obscure plants blooming, we have some beautiful classics putting on quite the show. Two of these hail from the Zingiberaceae of Ginger family. Keep an eye out along the Southern side of the path as you are nearing the Alcantarea brasiliana for the gorgeous red and black flowers arising from the ground beneath the majestic Etlingera elatior 'Black Diamond'. On the North side of the path, don't miss the golden glow of Alpinia 'Singapore Gold' sending up its obscure, club shaped inflorescences.
There are many, many other great plants in flower right now. It is truly a great time to come in and enjoy the tropical warmth as we get ready for a cool weekend and possibly another late snow. Sorry about the lack of pictures, I will add them as soon as I can upload them. See you soon, Cheers!