End of fall semester! What is blooming or fruiting in the Tucker Greenhouse on Stop Day?

pink flower

Billbergia nutans, Queen’s Tears, found in the Bromeliaceae family.

orange flower

Caesalpinnia pulcherrima, Pride of Barbados, found in the Fabaceae family.

white flower

Eucharis grandiflora, Amazon Lily,  found in the Amaryllidaceae family.

maroon seed pod

Theobroma cacao, cacao tree seed pod (chocolate), Malavaceae family.

white flower

Cactaceae family, found in the desert room.

white flowers

Cordyline sp., Giant Palm Lily,  found in the Asparagaceae family.

white orchid

Orchidaceae family.

red flower

Euphorbia pulcherrima, Poinsettia, found in the  Euphorbiaceae family.

pink color

Adenium obesum, Desert rose, found in the Apocynaceae family.

white flower

Pentas sp.,  found in the Rubiaceae family.

pink orchid


Mother of Thousands, or Plant of Thousands is becoming invasive!

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.

Mother of Thousands plant

Mother of Thousands plant-Kalenchoe diagremontiana.  Crassulaceae family

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.


Welcome, Sand Lily or Winter Veltheimia

pink flower

Veltheimia capensis found in the Asparagaceae family, commonly known as the Sand Lily. Veltheimia is native to South Africa.  It typically blooms in January or February.

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.

pink flower

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.

Random St. Patrick’s Day blooms & unusual leaves

green flowers

Small, tightly compacted flowers of Chenopodium quinoa or ‘Quinoa’ is found in the Amaranthaceae family and subfamily Chenopodioideae. This edible plant (seeds of Quinoa are very nutritious) is a ‘demonstration’ plant grown for Bio Sci 3210, Plant Systematics class.

purple flowers

Viola sp. found in the Violaceae family is another ‘demonstration’ plant for the Bio Sci 3210 class, Plant Systematics.  These flowers are actually edible.  Great in green salads!

pink flower

Bougainvillea sp. found in the Nyctaginaceae family is now in full bloom in the Tucker Greenhouse.  We have four very large plants, all in beautiful shades of salmon to pink

red flower

Gossypium sp. or ‘cotton’ is found in the Malvaceae family. It’s being grown as a ‘demonstration’ plant as well.  The flower is still undeveloped. What you are seeing are large, leaf-like bracts surrounding the undeveloped flower bud.  Once these blooms open, I’ll be posting more pictures of the flowers.

chocolate pod

This is a chocolate ‘bean’ growing on a Theobroma cacao tree otherwise known as ‘chocolate’. It is found in the Malvaceae family too.  When this chocolate bean is fully ripe, it will turn a bright orangish- yellow.  

white lemon flower

Citrus x meyerii, or Meyer Lemon found in the Rutaceae family has just started to bloom.

green leaves

Agave sp. leaves. Agave plants are found in the Asperagaceae family.  The indentations you see were created from previous leaves.  These indentations show up on the backsides of new leaves.



Today’s sample of cool sights in the Tucker Greenhouse

blue flower

Meet the herb Borage, otherwise known as                 Borago officinalis found in the Boraginaceace family.  This is one many demonstration plants growing in the Tucker Greenhouse for Bio Sci 3210 Plant Systematics class.

red stem

Cool stem & unopened flower buds on Hibiscus sabdariffa, found in the Malvaceae family, and another demonstration plant for Plant Systematics class.

pomegranate fruit

A developing pomegranate fruit on Punica granatum plant, variety ‘Fenton’ found in the Lythraceae family.


Tucker Greenhouse “Chewing Gum” tree

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.

brown fruit

Sapodilla fruit from the Chicle Tree

leaves and brown fruit

Leaves and fruit of Sapodilla