Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bromeliads, Orchids and the Jack Fruit

The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory has a wonderful collection of orchids, bromeliads and ethnobotanical plants that are on display all year round. When you are wandering around the Palm Dome you will come across a display of our blooming bromeliads. These epiphytic plants (you would typically see them in the upper canopy of the rainforest) have spectacular and colorful blooms that are are also potential homes for various creatures like tree frogs.

The orchid collection has over 800 different species of orchids so something is in bloom pretty much any day of the year. We display our orchids in the Palm Dome, North Garden and in a special viewing window that is at the end of the Orchid greenhouse. Our collection focuses on plants that are native to Central and South America. The MMC is a USFW Plant Rescue Center for confiscated orchids that have been illegally brought over international borders. Most orchids are protected under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)


The Jack Fruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) bears the largest fruit in the world; commonly weighing between 10 adn 60 lbs. Our Jack Fruit tree is in the North Garden and since it is a young tree the fruit is still fairly small. This fruit is edible and tastes a bit like a banana, though when it is ripe it has the smell of rotting onions so a person may need to acquire a taste for it! Come see our Jack Fruit and the many other interesting and unusual plants that are on display in the North Garden.