Thursday, January 20, 2011

Plant Find: Cercestis mirabilis

Cercestis mirabilis
Cercestis mirabilis is a tropical African species from the Aroid family.  Although there are 13 species in the Cercestis genus, only this one is commonly grown in cultivation.  The juvenile plant has very attractive markings of silver marbling on the leaves.  If the plant is given an opportunity to climb, the marbling will diminish and the leaves will divide into 3 lobes, and sometimes even fenestrations.  As I have mentioned before, this quality of changing form as a plant matures is called heteroblasty.  There are some pictures of adult specimens on the ExoticRainforest website.

I got my plant from the "plant and cuttings swap" at the 3rd meeting of the MidAmerica chapter of the International Aroid Society, held at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Plant Find: Anthurium scandens

About six months ago I saw my first pictures of Anthurium scandens.  This plant has many different features compared with all other Anthuriums I have known.  First of all, it grows as a vine, while most other Anthuriums grow as rosettes.  Also, this Anthurium is easily distinguishable by its profuse flowering (inflorescences) and the distinct white berries which form when the inflorescence is pollinated.

Anthurium scandens with single inflorescence
A couple of months ago I saw a small plant of Anthurium scandens listed for sale on eBay and I couldn't pass it up.  I purchased it, along with another unique Aroid.  Just a week later, at the plant swap of our aroid meeting at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, there were about 10 ziplock bags with cuttings of Anthurium scandens.  On the one hand, I was kicking myself for having purchased one of these plants just weeks before when I could get one for free at our plant swap.  On the other hand, I was happy to have duplicates of this beautiful plant and knew that there was no way I could have known ahead of time that these would be available.

Anthurium scandens with two inflorescences

So now I have a couple of Anthurium scandens in my plant collection.  The cutting I brought home from the Fort Worth Botanic Garden even had a couple of inflorescences that had pollinated and formed berries (infructescence).  The smaller plant that I bought on eBay is doing well and producing a new inflorescence every couple weeks.  I have the larger plant hanging in a pot near the ceiling of my greenhouse, with my Anthurium paraguayensis, also from the FWBG meeting.  Eventually I would like to have some sort of tree branch arching across the top of my greenhouse that my Anthurium scandens can creep across.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some members of the Pea family

The botanical family Fabaceae is commonly called the Pea family, because it contains the edible peas, among many other plants.  Several of the plants of this family are grown for their flowers and several have common names that include "pea."  One example is the Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus).  I have grown a couple of different plants from this family - Purple Hyacinth Vine (Lablab purpureus) and Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis v. minor).

I have also seen some neat plants growing wild over the last year, including the following plants.

Blooms of wild pea plant at Chickasaw Recreation Area near Sulphur, OK.

Blooms of another wild pea plant near Sulphur, OK.

We came across the plants pictured above while walking through a national park in southern Oklahoma.  I don't know the identity of either plant, but I liked them both.  We were actually hoping to see some orchids, but these little flowers were about the only thing we found in bloom.  Ironically, the blooms of the purple pea looked similar to an Encyclia cochleata, with it's squid legs dangling.

Pea blooming on Grand Cayman Island.

The plant pictured above was growing on a beach on Grand Cayman island, about 15 feet from the water.  The blooms of the Fabaceae family are distinctly shaped and the resulting seed pods are unmistakable, as well - the pea pod.

Pea pods on Grand Cayman Island.

If anyone knows the genus or species of any of these plants, please comment.