Tucker greenhouse blooms the last week of April

red, orange, yellow plant

Codiaeum variegatum, commonly called Croton, found in the Euphorbiaceae family.

This species has an unopened male flower on the left and a female flower on the right (note 3 styles).  A plant with unisexual flowers on the same plant is called a monoecious plant.  This plant has toxic white sap like most members of the Euphorbiaceae family.

 

Asphodelus fistulosus, commonly called onion weed or pink asphodel is found in the Asphodelaceae family, or Aloe family.

Asphodelus fistulosus, commonly called onion weed or pink asphodel is found in the Xanthorrhoeaceae family and the Asphodeloideae subfamily.

This species is native to the Mediterranean region, but is an invasive in the United States.  The flowers are diurnal (close at night or in low-light weather conditions.

 

pink flower

Side view of an Amaryllis flower found in the Amaryllidaceae family.

Note the white, three-lobed stigma, and the six yellow anthers filled with pollen.

Amaryllis flower, front view

Amaryllis flower, front view.

 

pink flowers

Mimosa pudica, commonly called the Sensitive plant. This plant is found in the Fabaceae family and the Mimosoideae subfamily.

This plant closes its leaves when touched.  Because of this, it has become the favorite attraction of Tucker greenhouse tour groups.  People visiting the greenhouse touch the leaves and shriek with joy.  Others video tape the leaves slowly closing.  This plant movement is called thigmonasty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN0DWfHMY8Y

 

Adenium obesum or desert rose, is found in the Apocynaceae family.

Adenium obesum or desert rose, is found in the Apocynaceae family.

Several Desert rose plants are currently in full bloom in the succulent room right now.

Platycodon sp. or Balloon flower is found in the Campanulaceae family.

Platycodon sp. or Balloon flower is found in the Campanulaceae family.

Spring blooms in the Tucker Rock Garden

lavender flower

Phlox bifida, commonly called Sand Phlox, is found in the Polemoniaceae family.

white flowers

Viburnum prunifolium, commonly called Blackhaw viburnum, is found in the Caprifoliaceae family.

IMG_0033

Glandular canadensis, commonly called Rose Verbena is found in the Verbenaceae family.

Mertensia virginica, commonly called Bluebells, is found in the Boraginaceae family.

Mertensia virginica, commonly called Bluebells, is found in the Boraginaceae family.

Aquilegia canadensis, commonly called Columbine, is found in the Ranunculaceae family.

Aquilegia canadensis, commonly called Columbine, is found in the Ranunculaceae family.

another view if the back of the Columbine flower…..

IMG_0046

 

Tucker Greenhouse Agave plant, circa 1987

Back in 1987, a rare event occurred in the Tucker greenhouse.  An Agave plant, commonly known as a ‘century plant’, produced an inflorescence stalk.  This event was considered rare because it can take an Agave plant most of its life (10-30 years) to initiate a bloom stalk.

The problem was that this stalk could reach heights of 25-30 ft (7-10 m), and it did.  In the greenhouse where the plant was growing, the roof was too short and the plant needed more space.  Gary Schnurbusch, the Tucker greenhouse manager at the time, simply decided that a pane of glass on the roof had to be removed in order to let this beautiful inflorescence stalk bloom in its full glory.  The stalk continued to grow outside and above the greenhouse roof by another 4-6 ft (1-2 m)  The following photos were taken back in 1987 documenting this event.

man next to agave plant

Gary Schnurbusch posing with the Agave plant in 1987

agave plant

Agave inflorescence stalk beginning to grow in the center of the plant.

Another angle of the bloom stalk

Another angle of the bloom stalk.

Stalk has now grown so tall that a pane of glass is removed to keep the stalk from hitting the glass roof.

Stalk has now grown so tall that a pane of glass is removed to keep the stalk from hitting the glass roof.

Another angle, showing the stalk outside.

Another angle, showing the stalk outside.

Another angle

Another angle………

Look closely and see the stalk going through the roof.

Look closely and see the stalk going through the roof.

Plastic cover is added to protect the stalk as it is still cold outside in Missouri. Note the leaf-less outdoor trees.

Plastic cover is added to protect the stalk as it is still cold outside in Missouri. Note the leaf-less outdoor trees.

The stalk is growing tall still, and spring is on its way. Note the blooming tree outside.

The stalk is growing taller still, and spring is on its way. Note the blooming tree outside the greenhouse.

As time passes, the inflorescence stalk gets taller still. Leaves on the outdoor trees are filling in.

As time passes, the inflorescence stalk gets taller still. Leaves on the outdoor trees are filling in.

Now the inflorescence stalk is begging to branch and become more like a panicle.

Now the inflorescence stalk is beginning to branch and become more like a panicle.

Last photo taken, final height almost 30 ft (

Last photo taken, final height almost 30 ft (10 m)

Agave americana is in the Asparagaceae family, and Agavoideae subfamily.  The common name of ‘Century plant’ refers to the length of time it takes this plant to finally initiate a bloom stalk (not really 100 years, but it seems like it).  Sadly, once the plant blooms, it dies.  In a short amount of time though, it sends up another new plant or sucker from its root system.

Agaves have spear-like, gray-green leaves with prickly margins.  They are highly drought tolerant as well.  They’re native to Mexico and the desert southwestern United States.  Agaves are very important economically speaking too.  From an Ethnobotanical point of view, the humble Agave plant gives us Agave nectar (sweetener), Tequila, Pulque, and fiber for rope making, just to name a few.  Agave flowers are pollinated by insects, nectar-eating bats, and hummingbirds.