Rare Plant Auction at Fairchild Aimed at Conservation in the Caribbean

Friday, October 19, 2007

 Rare Plant Auction at Fairchild Aimed at Conservation in the Caribbean


Coral Gables, FL, October 13, 2007-Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is excited to announce one of its most anticipated events, The Rare Event, on Saturday, October 20 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the Garden House. Deemed as a connoisseur‘s auction of rare and uncommon plants and trees-most of which are propagated here at Fairchild and generally unavailable to the public-this event is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Some of the highlighted plants for sale include the following:


Gaussia gomez-pompae

A new introduction from southern Mexico, this palm grows on steep limestone slopes.  Like many Gaussia species, it develops a swollen base.  Fast growing, it should reach a height of thirty feet with a sparse crown of pinnate leaves.  Fruit are bright red.  Grows in full sun on rock.


Itaya amicorum

A very rare palm from the northwest Amazon basin, Itaya has one of the greatest leaves in the palm family:  a giant, circular fan with thick wedges, deep green above and silver below.  Supposedly cold-sensitive, they have been grown outside in Fairchild‘s Rainforest for several years.  We are pleased to offer this young plant grown from garden seed. Needs irrigation and a little shade.


Uncarina stellulifera

The most spectacular member of the Mousetrap Tree genus, this species has lavender flowers.  A new introduction to South Florida, this Madagascar endemic exhibits the typical pachycaul growth habit of Uncarina.  Needs to be planted in full sun with superb drainage.


Euphorbia punicea

This stunning euphorbia is endemic to Jamaica‘s Cockpit Country where it grows on steep, dry, limestone hills.  The flowers have large blood-red bracts, which can be seen from a great distance.  The leaves are succulent-like and grow at the tips of twisting thin branches.  The seed capsules explode upon ripening, and scatter seeds a great distance.  Old specimens can grow over fifteen feet tall.


Zamia pygmaea

This species, native to western Cuba, is one of the smallest cycads.  It is considered endangered in its native habitat.  It has an underground stem and usually holds three or so small leafs above ground.  The cones are tiny, about the size of a marshmallow for a fully ripened female cone.  The leaflets are crowded and ovate.  This species grows in dry pine forests and grasslands where it could easily be missed if looked for.  We are fortunate to be able to offer three seedlings of this rare gem.


*Editor‘s Note-High resolution images of the plants are available upon request.


The Rare Event also includes a silent auction with exciting items including a two night stay at The Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne, a weekend at Ocean Reef Club with brunch and a cocktail party for 15 by Le Basque caterers.


All proceeds for this year‘s Rare Event will focus on three of our Caribbean conservation project: A conservation study of Jamaica‘s unique Cockpit Country, one of the least explored parts of the Caribbean; a palm conservation project with the National Botanic Garden of the Dominican Republic; and the conservation of the highly endangered dry forests of Margarita Island.


The Rare Event 2007 plant catalog will be available for viewing starting October 10 at www.fairchildgarden.org. A limited amount of tickets are available at $125 for non-members and $75 for Fairchild members. For more information on the Rare Event and to purchase tickets, please contact Mari Novo at 305-667-1651, ext. 3357 or mnovo@fairchildgarden.org.


Catering has been generously provided by Northern Trust and Premium liquor sponsor bar provided by Bacardi


About Fairchild‘s Conservation Projects in the Caribbean

Fairchild is currently part of a team exploring the botanical diversity of Jamaica, with the Institute of Jamaica and University of West Indies we are undertaking a botanical assessment of the Cockpit Country. With the Smithsonian Institution, University of Puerto Rico, Jardin Botanico Moscosoa (Dominican Republic) and United States Department of Agriculture we have completed the first assessment of endemic genera in the Caribbean.


About Fairchild

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. It is one of the premier research and education-based gardens in the world and a recognized international leader in conservation. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden houses the National Palm Collection as recognized by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), has the world‘s greatest living collection of palms; an education program reaching more than 29,000 school children per year; hosts popular events like the International Mango, Orchid  and Chocolate Festivals, the Ramble, concerts, affiliated plant society shows and sales and more; and, is a not-for-profit organization relying on the support of its 36,000 members and benefactors. Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables (Miami), Florida 33156. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for children 6-17 and free to children 5 and under and Fairchild members. For more information, please visit www.fairchildgarden.org.



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