Otherworldly Hoya blooms

pink blooms

Hoya sp., commonly called Waxplant is found in the Apocynaceae family

pik blooms

Close-up of Hoya’s umbellate inflorescence.

white and yellow star-shaped flower

Centrostemma multiflora (formerly the genus Hoya) commonly allied Shooting Star, is also found in the Apocynaceae family.

The genus ‘Hoya’ was named in honor of the botanist Thomas Hoy.  Hoyas are native to Asia, Polynesia and Australia.  They are called wax plants because their leaves feel very waxy and smooth.  There is a collection of Hoya plants located in the main hallway in the Tucker greenhouse.  Come in and look closely at these very unusual flowers.

Tucker Greenhouse fruit alert!

red fruit

This is a ripe Suriname Cherry fruit Eugenia uniflora found in the Myrtaceae family.  This smallish tree is growing in the north tropical room, on the west side in the middle bed.  Prior to fruit development, the tree produces fragrant, white flowers about the size of a dime.

This fruit was discovered today by Tanner Leslie, greenhouse volunteer extraordinaire.  We both tasted the fruit, and actually ate most of it.  It is tart like a lemon, but has an interesting flavor.  It is medicinal too.

red fruit

Inside the fruit of a Suriname cherry is one large seed.  This type of fleshy, one-seeded fruit is called a ‘drupe’.

 

Budding young photographer visits Tucker Greenhouse a second time……Enjoy!

Almost daily, someone timidly walks through the doors of the Tucker Greenhouse and they ask, “Is it ok to come in here and look around?  I heard it was off-limits to the general public.”

It is more than ok to come in and look around.  We encourage you to come in and look around, and we encourage you to take photos of the blooming plants, or anything else you find interesting to photograph.

This past weekend, Alecia Ballew visited the Tucker Greenhouse and graciously shared  her fabulous photos.  Enjoy!

orange flower

Euphorbia millii or Crown of thorns, found in the Euphorbiaceae family

white orchid

Phalaenopsis sp., Orchid, found in the Orchidaceae family

Bougainvillea sp. found in the Nyctaginaceae family

Bougainvillea sp. found in the Nyctaginaceae family

pink and green leaf

Caladium leaf, Araceae family

pink and white flower

Hippeastrum sp. or Amaryllis, found in the Amaryllidaceae family

water plant

Eichhornia crassipes, or water hyacinth, found in the Pontederiaceae family

pink flower

Cathranthus roseus, or Madagascar Periwinkle, found in the Apocynaceae family

succulent plants

Succulent plants found in the Crassulaceae family

white and maroon orchid

Oncidium sp. orchid, found n the Orchidaceae family

Lantana sp., found in the Verbenaceae family

Lantana sp., found in the Verbenaceae family

white and yellow star-shaped flower

Centrostemma multiflora, or shooting star, found in the Apocynaceae family

reddish pink flower

Celosia sp. found in the Amaranthaceae family

pink flower

Hibiscus sabdariffa flower bud, found in the Malvaceae family

pink flower

another Bougainvillea

white and maroon flower

Aristolochia elegans, or Duthcman’s Pipe, found in the Aristolochiaceae family

white flower

Another shot of that Phalaenopsis orchid

Cotton, it’s not just fluff

When people think of cotton, they might think of cotton balls, cotton clothing, or of the very controversial role cotton growing played in US history, especially in the south.  But when I think of cotton, I think of an incredibly beautiful flower and plant.

pink flower

Cotton flower about to unfurl

Gossypium hirsutum, commonly called cotton, is found in the Malvaceae family. As a member of the Malvaceae family, cotton is closely related to plants like Okra, Hibiscus, Cacao, and Jute. Cotton is native to subtropical and tropical regions across the globe, and it thrives best growing in high heat. The word ‘cotton’ comes from the Arabic word, ‘Qutun’. Humans have been growing cotton for at least 7,000 years.

This is a cotton boll or capsule.  It is the fruit of the cotton plant.  When mature, the fruit splits open revealing cottony masses.  Mature seeds are located inside the cottony masses.

This is a cotton boll or capsule. It is the fruit of the cotton plant. When mature (dry), the fruit splits open revealing cottony masses. Mature seeds are located inside the cottony masses.

Once a cotton plant flowers and is pollinated, it produces a fruit called a boll. A boll is actually a hard capsule with fiber and seeds inside. When the fruit is ripe (in this case a capsule is ripe when it is dry), the boll dehisces, or splits open revealing the actual fluffy stuff we know as cotton. The seeds of the cotton plant are found inside of these cottony masses. These cottony masses, or fibers evolved to help with seed dispersal.

cotton

Mature cotton boll. Note the dried bracts surrounding the cotton fluff

Close up of young bracts surrounding a young cotton flower

Close up of young bracts surrounding a young cotton flower

Note the characteristic fused stamens (monadelphous)  associated with the Malvaceae family.

On this older flower, note the characteristic fused stamens (monadelphous) associated with the Malvaceae family.

Economically speaking, cotton is a very important agricultural crop. More than 60 countries now grow cotton for food, fiber, edible oil, seed, and food for livestock.  The Tucker greenhouse is currently growing cotton as a demonstration plant for Biological Science 3210 Plant Systematics.  The cotton seed was donated to Tucker Greenhouse by Mr. Jason Fenton, plant aficionado extraordinaire.