Spring has arrived in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden!

Thursday, April 2, 2009



                                                                   Brownea capitella in our rainforest

Spring at Fairchild means lots of amazing flowers are here for you to enjoy.  Some flowers are only fragrant at night.  Tonight and every Thursday night in April, there will be special walking tours in the Arboretum to visit flowers which are fragrant during the evening hours to attract  insects, mostly moths, which only fly at night. There may be fewer moths than there are of daytime insects, but there are also fewer nighttime flowers, so less competition. The flowers have a fragrance because that is a signal which works at night, when visual signals as used by many daytime flowers don't work.

Do moths have a sense of smell? Most definitely. Nearly all insects have a very good sense of smell - or, to be precise, sensitivity to minute amounts of complex chemicals, and moths particularly so. Moths are known for the huge variety of shapes and forms in their antennae, which are their main smell sensors. I know that there are several angel's trumpets (Brugmansia spp.) blooming now.  They are incredibly fragrant at night.  Try to visit Fairchild soon to enjoy Spring!  Visit on a Thursday evening this month and you might even see a moth!




                                                                   Brugmansia aurea in the Arboretum