Monday, May 31, 2010

more bizarre plants

Plants put on spectacular shows in their efforts to attract pollinators, much like some humans.  One of the strangest is Ceropegia sandersonii, or parachute vine.  This plant belongs to the milkweed family.  We almost lost ours to the extended Florida freeze this year, but managed to save part of the undamaged vine.  The flower looks very much like a parachute:
From Dragon's Orchid Garden





From Dragon's Orchid Garde

Another oddball denizen of our backyard is a Stepalia gigantea, gifted to us by our friend Carl. It's another member of the milkweed family. Its flowers give it the popular name "Giant Carrion Flower".  We have several of them now, as they root easily from cuttings.  Fetid flowers form from large buds on the leafless succulent branches, attracting flies with their stink.  I really don't recommend you stick your nose in one of these...
From Dragon's Orchid Garden
From Dragon's Orchid Garden

Orchid flowers can easily compete for first place in the bizarre flower category with these blooms... first is Dendrobium spectabile, looking a lot like a nudibranch out of water. The second is Epidendrum Green Hornet, a tiny flower. Both are easy to grow outdoors here in Florida. They love the humidity.
From orchids
From orchids

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