Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Incredible Plants at Como Park

If you're anywhere in the vicinity of Como Park in St. Paul this week, be sure to go see the tropical outdoor water plants near the entrance of the new wing of the Conservatory.

Most famous is the Victoria Water Platter, Victoria 'Longwood Hybrid'. This plant is at least 20 feet across, and each of the full-sized leaves is 3 to 4 feet across. I believe I read that they're strong enough for a child to sit on (although no one should do that, of course!).

Water lily with huge flat leaves and raised edges radiating from a center

Originally from Bolivia, the leaf structure inspired the design of the Crystal Palace at the Great Industrial Exhibition of 1851 in London. Here's a close-up of one of the leaves.

One leaf close up showing the texture of the surface and reddish edge

And what was that I saw at the center of the plant last week? Are those buds of giant flowers?

Half-submerged, milk carton-sized flower buds at the center of the plant

Another fascinating and well-named plant is the Mosaic Plant, Ludwigia sediodes:

Small square green leaves in a pattern on the surface of the water, looking just like a mosaic

And don't miss the incandescent Lotus blooms (Nelumbo nucifera):

Light pink and white sculptural blossom with a bright yellow center

The Lotus leaves are fun as well -- kind of like giant nasturtiums:

Almost round green leaves with a slightly scalloped edge

I'm not sure how much longer these plants will be outside. Since none of them are anywhere near hardy in Minnesota, they spend the later fall and winter in greenhouses at the park. So get over there now! If you're lucky, the Victoria will be blooming.


Ms Sparrow said...

When I took my three great-grandaughters there this summer,
a docent warned the girls away from the water saying it contained bacteria. They took it seriously and looked for frog "volunteers" in the water instead.

Thanks for the great photos--you do great photography!

Heewon said...

I love these photos! Amazing plants.