This is the second post about our visit to the Quad City Botanical Center (henceforth QCBC) a few weeks ago. (Part 1)
The tropical plants area of the QCBC is divided up in a way that makes it feel relatively small, but the pamphlet the husband picked up says it's 6444 square feet (599 square meters), and 70 feet (21.3 m) tall at its tallest point. So there's room, and somehow they've managed to get some very big plants in there, even though their website says they've only been around since 1998. (Presumably some of the plants were of pretty good size before they were planted.)
My favorite, naturally, was the Pandanus utilis.
I tried to take a picture that would show the spiral arrangement of leaves, to explain the common name "screw pine," but the sun was behind the plant, and there was only so much I could do. This was the best one I got:
Seeing this one at the QCBC made me even more determined to get a Pandanus utilis of my own someday, though. Not that I needed the push.
Odds are that more visitors are impressed by the coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, than the Pandanus. It was certainly much taller, if nothing else:
And it did, I admit, educate me a little as to how the coconuts are attached to the plant: I always thought they were held closer to the foliage than that. (You may have to open the picture in a separate window to see the coconuts.)
Not all the big, impressive plants were unfamiliar: the QCBC also has the largest Murraya paniculata I've ever seen. I can't imagine how overpowering the smell, when it's in full bloom. The people who clean the room must hate this plant. (My own makes a mess of the husband's office on a regular basis, and it's a tiny fraction of the size of this one.)
They also had a big, healthy Philodendron erubescens that was trying very hard to pull down the building:
I suspect there is a law that all botanical-garden-type places have to have at least one gigantic Alocasia or Colocasia somewhere.
I was surprised to find a Duranta at all (it's not a plant I think about a lot, or expect to see anywhere), but finding a really big, chartreuse one was a pleasant surprise:
No flowers on the Duranta, which is too bad. I want to smell one again sometime and see whether I still think it smells like cookies.
There were pothos plants climbing, literally, the walls (you can see some of them in the background of the pictures from Part 1), but this particular one got to the ceiling by climbing a support column.
I also saw a Syngonium podophyllum with mature leaves at the QCBC. I'd seen this before, but it'd been a long time:
The plant that most impressed me, though, of all the plants there, was their Caryota mitis (fishtail palm), which was not only enormous --
-- it was also flowering. Rather a lot.
The flowers aren't pretty, but apparently they don't have to be in order to work.
And this very new flower below looked like an octopus to me, which makes me like the species way, way more. I've never had good luck with C. mitis indoors (in my experience, it's hard to find one that's not buggy), but if they can grow octopi/-puses/-pods, then I think I need to rethink my position.
They also had a few other very large plants that I'm leaving out of the post because they didn't photograph well, including a Chorisa speciosa (silk floss tree) that nearly touched the ceiling and was dropping pink flowers on everything underneath it. I'd heard the name before, but it wasn't a plant I was familiar with at all. In person, it was maybe a little too huge and a little too far away for me to relate to, but still. Always nice to meet new folks.
There were also quite a few gigantic banana plants (Musa sp.), and a very large but badly lit Breynia disticha (snowbush, also sometimes Breynia nivosa). Maybe I'll get pictures of those the next time we go.