The Charlotte Botanical Gardens is a free, educational and truly delightful place to spend the day with the kids. My daughter and I had hours of fun seeing, touching, smelling and learning about exotic, weird and most funny looking plants from around the world. We goofed around in the Cactus room, brought home a carnivorous plant (an amazing insect killing machine so far), tiptoed through the Dinosaur room and relaxed in the outdoor gardens.
Admission is free. The greenhouse is open daily 10AM to 3PM (1-4PM on Sunday) while the outdoor gardens are open during daylight hours. Below are highlights from the Tropical Room inside the McMillan Greenhouse.
Surprise, surprise is a cocoa tree! Who knew the cocoa beans can get so big?! Nearby was another favorite of mine, the coffee tree. Yummy!
Meet “Bella” the wonderfully large, smelly, and rare Titan Arum plant
The Titan Arum plant grows only on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia and was first introduced to the Western world in 1878.
• Titan Arum plants have the world’s largest, un-branched flowering structures that can reach up to 12 feet in the wild (9.5 feet in cultivation)!
• When the bloom first opens it reeks of rotting flesh for up to 24 hours to attract carrion beetles and flesh flies that pollinate it in the wild. The gigantic blooms are only open for 3 days, and then they wither and die.
• The plants take 10-15 years before first blooming and may only bloom every 3-5 years. A single plant may only bloom once its entire life…
• Titan Arum plans grow from underground tubers. A single tuber produces a bud that grows either a gigantic branched leaf or the amazingly large and stinking flower. Sometimes tubers stay dormant when there is no above ground growth at all.
Where is tropics there is fruits. Delight yourself with the orange, lemon, and banana fruit trees. Kiss it off under the mistletoe tree…
Silky soft club moss. Did you know that back in the day photographers used powder made from club moss spores to enable flash photography? People had to collect hundreds of spores by hand in the late summer and then make them into powder.
Finger of God, a bromeliad plant from Brazil
Here comes the peacock, another fancy plant from Brazil.
Not to be outdone, the polka dots trout leaf begonia shines through…
Salutations to the bamboo, the wonder plant that will save the earth!
Time to indulge your senses with some flavorful spices: ginger, vanilla, cinnamon and more…oh my!
A plain vanilla plant!
Kick your plant knowledge up a notch at the amazing Charlotte Botanical Gardens!
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