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Plant hunting in the Dominican Republic – A joint expedition between botanists from Miami and Santo Domingo

Monday, December 10, 2012

Scientists and horticulturists from the Montgomery Botanical Center (Dr. Chad Husby), Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (Dr. Brett Jestrow and Mr. Jason Lopez), and the National Botanic Garden of the Dominican Republic (Mr. Teodoro Clase) joined forces in a plant hunting expedition to the Dominican Republic organized and administered by Montgomery Botanical Center. This expedition was possible thanks to the generous support of Fairchild Trustee Mr. Lin Lougheed. Between 16 and 26 July, ...

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The Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund Supports Palm Conservation Initiatives in Haiti

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Botanists from the Cayes Botanic Garden, Haiti (Wiliam Cinea and Nothude Tilus), Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (Dr. Brett Jestrow), and the National Botanic Garden of the Dominican Republic (Alberto Veloz) performed field work activities pertinent to the conservation of the Critically Endangered palm Pseudophoenix lediniana. This expedition took place between November 27 and December 5, 2012, and it was supported by the Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund. One of the main aims ...

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Garden as if life depends on it

Friday, December 14, 2012

Have you ever thought about what happens when a native wooded area is cleared for a building site? It is obvious that the trees and undergrowth has been removed, but what about all the creatures that were living in or would visit this area? The insects that were feeding on plants growing in the woods are gone; the birds no longer have a reason to visit this location to look for food such as caterpillars and other insects because their food plants are gone. When a local habitat is removed ...

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Winter Pests

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stippling on leaves. When hot, or even pleasant, and dry weather descends on us, Red spider mites. there are some things to watch for in the garden. One is red spider mites. These tiny red insects hide out on the bottom of leaves and suck cell sap, creating a stipple effect on the top of the leaves. I am finding them all over the passion vine Passiflora incarnata. They also love soft-leaved orchids. Once you see the stippling, you may need a hand lens to observe the insects on the underside ...

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Fruit Trees Take Wing in the Home Garden

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The butterfly garden has taken South Florida gardening by storm. One can scarcely drive by a South Florida elementary or middle school without taking note of the butterfly garden, alive with food plants for caterpillars. But alas, what about the adult butterfly - the object of our fascination. Shouldn’t we provide nectar and shelter for them? It is our quest to help the adult butterfly within the home garden to find nectar and shelter, further enhancing our environment and our viewing pleasure....

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Starring a Winter Fruit

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Averrhoa carambola 'Thai Knight'. Carambolas (Averrhoa carambola) are in full of fruit now and the branches of our home trees are bending beneath their weight. Carambolas, or star fruit, come from Southeast Asia where, says tropical fruit expert Jonathan Crane, they have been grown for centuries. The cultivar called Arkin,' which came from Malaysia, was introduced to South Florida in 1973. I remember interviewing Morris Arkin, who grew the seeds in Coral Gables. Arkin also developed...

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Awesome in the right light

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gloxinia sylvatica. Seeing red (or orange) at this time of year? We're not thinking poinsettias here, but they are in profusion everywhere we look. During a morning walk through the Garden we were struck by the light on two plants: Gloxinia sylvatica and Juanulloa mexicana. Each offered an expression of nature's magic with chemistry: plant production of secondary metabolites, such as anthocyanin and flavonoids that create red and yellow pigments. More often than not, we take these...

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FIU-FTBG Faculty Delivers Talk in the Canary Islands

Friday, December 21, 2012

FIU-FTBG faculty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega delivered a talk about his research pertinent to the plant hunting trips of David Fairchild. This presentation took place at the Instituto de Estudios Canarios (La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands) on December 18. During this event a new publication by Dr. Francisco-Ortega entitled "David Fairchild and his Biological Expeditions to the Canary Islands" was presented. Dr. Esperanza Beltran (Departamento de Biologia Vegetal - Universidad de La ...

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Grant from The Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund to FIU-FTBG Graduate Student

Friday, December 21, 2012

Rosa Rodr guez is the Head of the Conservation Department of the National Botanic Garden of the Dominican Republic and one of our FIU-FTBG graduate students. The Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund has awared Rosa Rodr guez with a grant ($10,000) to conduct studies pertinent to conservation biology of Pseudophoenix in the Dominican Republic. The project will be administered through the National Botanic Garden of the Dominican Republic and it will be conducted in...

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Tropical Garden Winter 2013

Monday, December 24, 2012

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A rare sight

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Female flowers of Alvaradoaamorphoides. One of South Florida's rare trees, Mexican alvaradoa (Alvaradoa amorphoides) is blooming at the Garden in plot 43, which is near the Visitors Center. This small tree is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate trees. Male flower spikes are long and dangling; females are shorter and fatter, with each small green capsule being an ovary. The tree is one of the host plants for the Dina Yellow butterfly (Pyrisita dina). The other host is...

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Serendipity

Monday, December 31, 2012

Northern Parula, male: tiny warbler. On the last day of 2012, the Garden is in fabulous form. The vine pergola, in particular, is hung with brilliant flowers, including the shockingly bright orange of the flame vine (Pyrostegia venusta), the candy corn vine (Watagea spicata), a curtain of sky vine (Thunbergia grandifolia) being worked tenaciously by bees, chalice vine (Solandra maxima) and Clerodendrum splendens. The Petrea volubilis and Clerodendrum thomsoniae Delectum' gracing the...

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