All plants are fine. Some are even blooming right now.
Look for this plant in the Tropical pond room.
The picture below is of a very young Kalenchoe daigremontiana plant. This plant is found in the Crassulaceae family. The same plant family Jade plants belong to. Members of this succulent family prefer dry, arid conditions. The Tucker greenhouse Mother of Thousands plants are living and spreading quite rapidly in the Desert room.
Why are these plants spreading so rapidly? Because they vegetatively propagate themselves by making clones of themselves. The picture below shows an older plant which is now producing tiny baby clones on the margins of its leaves. If you look closely, you’ll even see the tiny roots that have formed. These tiny clones simply fall off of the mother plant at some point, drop to the ground and take root where they land.
I’m featuring this plant today because it is also in full bloom. The Mother of Thousands produces a branched inflorescence, complete with campanulate (bell-shaped) flowers of a beautiful pinkish-salmon color.
I always want to explore the features of every flower I see, so of course, the last picture is one showing a dissected flower from the inflorescence. The Crassulaceae or Stone Crop family typically has flowers with 4-5 petals, 4-5 sepals, 4-10 stamens, 4-5 distinct pistils. This family is largely comprised of herbs to shrubs which are largely succulent. Most genera in the family are native to Africa, Madagascar, and Asia.
The photo above is of a racemose inflorescence (raceme), or a group of many flowers on one stalk which bloom from the bottom upward. I plucked off one of these tiny, tubular flowers and dissected it, exposing the male and female parts of this flower. The photo below shows from left to right, an unopened flower, then a flower opened and dissected, exposing six epipetalous stamens (stamens attached to the petals), and one pistil on the right. One of the green anthers fell off of the stamen in the middle of the flower. The enlarged ovary at the base of the pistil is three-lobed.
Veltheimia capensis is a bulbous perennial, with a rosette of leathery, strap-like leaves. It is a very drought resistant plant used as a purgative by the native peoples of South Africa.
Manilkara zapota, commonly called Sapodilla or the Chicle Tree is found in the Sapotaceae family. This tree can grow to heights of 9 to 30 meters. When cut into, the bark of the Sapodilla tree oozes a sticky, white, gummy sap called ‘chicle‘, a substance from which chewing gum is made.
Tucker Greenhouse’s ‘Chiclet Gum tree’ is located in the tropical greenhouse on the west side of the room, right next to the pond. Our specimen is a very small tree, with inconspicuous flowers. The flowers were so inconspicuous that I never even saw the blooms. What drew my attention to this tree were the large kiwi-like fruits hanging from its upper branches. The Chicle Tree/Sapodilla is native to Mexico and Central America. The kiwi-like fruit is a berry containing five seeds. The fruit flesh is pale yellow to brown and tastes a lot like a pear.
The history of the harvesting of ‘chicle’ is very interesting, and people have been harvesting it for hundreds if not thousands of years. Mayan and Aztec Indians harvested chicle in pre-Columbian times. I was curious about how this was done, so I found this video of a ‘chiclero‘ or chicle harvester
The two photos below are of sapodilla fruit and leaves. Unfortunately, no pictures of flowers though.