August 21, 2017

All About the Thorn

The cascades of fruit in autumn might be a clue to how prolific the Crataegus species are. Pictured is what likely is a variety of C. monogyna, best known as common hawthorn. Native to Europe, … [Read more...]

The Word for Yellow

Although it has no official status as such, the Kōwhai is seen as being New Zealand's national flower. With eight species in the genus Sophora native to New Zealand, these small, woody legumes are … [Read more...]

The Bird of Paradise

Out of South Africa, there came to the Royal Gardens at Kew a most curious plant. In 1773, Sir Joseph Banks, who was the unofficial director of the place, introduced this exotic tropical, naming the … [Read more...]

Home, Sweet Home

Many plants provide shelter to different creatures and Heliconia around the world are no exception. Related to the banana family, these tropical plants are known for their showy looks, which are the … [Read more...]

Crimson Pride

An iconic symbol of New Zealand at Christmas is Metrosideros excelsa, better known in Maori as pohutukawa, or the New Zealand Christmas tree. This member of the myrtle family is endemic to the island … [Read more...]

Most Elegant of Them All

If one needed a single word to describe the genus Lilium, elegance might be that word. There are numerous types of lilies around the world, natives to Europe and across Asia and Japan and into the New … [Read more...]

One Big, Happy Family

One might think of orchids as exotic plants, growing lushly in a tropical setting. And one would be right - to a point. The orchid family, Orchidaceae, is one of the two largest families of flowering … [Read more...]

Behold the Kakabeak

On a lone island in a New Zealand harbor there grew a legume. This evergreen shrub, Clianthus puniceus, is a rare plant, commonly known as kakabeak. That name stems from its arresting clusters of red … [Read more...]

One Big Corpse Flower

Flowers come in all shapes and sizes, although the size of Amorphophallus titanum would be enough to stop anyone in their tracks. The inflorescence of the curiously named "corpse flower" can top 10 … [Read more...]

Rocket Shrimp

The heat is on with Pachystachys lutea, a subtropical evergreen shrub commonly known as lollipop plant, golden shrimp plant and candle flower. The rocket-shaped spires of yellow bracts produce … [Read more...]