Horticulture Blog

Archive - December 2007

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CTPC staff monitor the endangered Pseudophoenix sargentii on Elliott Key

Wed, Dec 26, 2007 at 11:55:59 AM

Jennifer Possley, GIS Lab Coordinator/Field Biologist, reports that two weeks ago today, several members of Fairchild's Center for Tropical Plant Conservation (CTPC) returned from a three-day trip, monitoring the endangered palm Pseudophoenix sargentii (Sargent's cherry palm) on Elliott Key.  We last conducted a thorough monitoring of this taxon on Elliott Key in 2003.  This time, we collected data on: (1) approximately 115 surviving individuals that were planted by Fairchild staff, Florida DEP, and other cooperators in 1991-1994, (2) approximately 250 known wild individuals, and (3) approximately 200 seedlings that were previously undocumented.  The biologists and volunteers who took part in the monitoring were: Joyce Maschinski, Sam Wright, Joie Goodman, Julissa Roncal, Sandra Namoff, Scott Zona, Jay Horn, Nadia Spencer, Scott Lewis, Natalia Giminez, Eleanor Lahn, Frank Barron, and Jennifer Possley.  Below are some photos, courtesy of Scott Zona and Joie Goodman.

Click on images to enlarge

 Campsite on Elliott Key


 Joie and Jennifer taking a break












 Jay Horn with mature Pseudophoenix on the
left and a seedling  Pseudophoenix on the right


 Mature, fruiting Pseudophoenix
















 Sandra Namoff collecting a leaf sample from
a young  Pseudophoenix for genetic analysis





Don't forget to look up while walking through our rainforest.

Wed, Dec 26, 2007 at 10:07:35 AM

This morning, around 8:30, as I was walking out of my office in the rainforest, I heard a very loud squawking noise.  I looked up and saw a pure white large bird fly over the trees.  It landed nearby and continued its raucous call.  Harvey, Rod and I walked in the direction of the sound.  We looked up to see a beautiful cockatoo perched upon the tip of a Veitchia spear leaf.  Eventually the bird flew to the east, before I could get a good photo.  We occasionally have macaws and Amazon parrots visit the garden to eat palm fruits.  So, next time you visit Fairchild, remember to look up.  In our rainforest you will see orchids, bromeliads, ferns, and aroids growing up in the trees.  You might even see an exotic bird!


I discovered something neat in our rainforest

Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 06:20:50 AM

A couple afternoons ago I was walking through the rainforest on my way to the arboretum to check some seeds I am  watching for propagation purposes.  Just before I entered the rainforest plaza I looked up and saw a Schefflera seedling sprouting from the surface of a palm leaf!  The palm is a very robust Livistona seedling with leaves held in a horizontal fashion.  Seeds in a rainforest can fall onto leaves, in the crevices among tree branches, even onto a roof of a hut or in our case the Living Collections and Garden Landscape's office.  Several years ago we had seedlings of our native cigar orchid Cyrtopodium punctatum sprouting on the roof of our building!  This is all possible due to the regular rainfall or in our case, irrigation.

Click on image to enlarge



 Photo by M. Collins

 Schefflera seedling growing on Livistona leaf



Discovering Fairchild Tropical Garden - the Rainforest

Thu, Dec 13, 2007 at 06:52:28 AM


 Photo by M. Collins

Rainforest waterfall

















I often see many people walking through the rainforest on the tram road but they don't venture onto one of the paths which are lined with beautiful plants and our wonderful stream with cascades and waterfalls.  Our rainforest stream uses water from Glade Lake.  Water from the lake is pumped up in a pipe under the Cycad Vista.  Through gravity, the water flows down the stream which begins behind the Hawke's Lab hort office building, under the tram roads and bridges and back into Glade Lake. 

Our lakes in FTBG are actually brackish and we were concerned that the salt levels in the water may adversely affect plants growing along the stream.  Plants growing adjacent to the stream are thriving and multiplying with no salt damage seen.  During your next visit to Fairchild, be adventurous and take a walk through the rainforest.  You might be surprised at what you see. 

Click on images to enlarge




 Photo by M. Collins

 Plants are thriving along the FTBG rainforest stream