Plant Content of Observation #38

In consultation with the botanist, Dr. Jan, at the Wonder Gardens here are the plant identities we concluded. The plants are identified in the accompanying pictures with labels. I needed three photos to capture the bulk of the different species of plants. I further examined them in detail to make more sense of what I saw and what he said. I will post a series of blogs with those more specific observations.

This is a Fig tree. It has a woody structure which is relatively rigid and has a complex root and stem system. The other plants don’t need to expend the effort for rigid support because they depend on the tree. The plants which are attached to the trunk and stems, grow at various illumination levels in the umbrella of the tree. They adapt to the sun exposure in at least five ways. The first is to climb up into the canopy to get more light. The second characteristic is the depth of green color. A high chlorophyl content suggests that they extract as much energy as possible or as needed within the level of the tree. A third characteristic is the leaf size and number where broader and more numerous leaves can gather more light. The fourth and fifth characteristics depend on height in the tree. The higher the plant location in the tree, the more distant they are from the soil. Therefore at some point the plants extract nutrients from other sources and become “air plants” and they are attached to the tree by “air roots”.

Wow! There is so much here ! In separate blogs I will check out each of these plants individually to see what makes them specially adaptable. The plants include :

  • Fig tree
  • Philodendron
  • Cactus (Epiphyllium)
  • Bromeliad (four types)
  • Dracena
  • Orchid
  • Fern (Stag horn)
Fig tree with bromeliad and orchid
Fig tree with Philodendron, Stag Horn Fern and Dracena
Fig tree with Philodendron, Bromeliad and Cactus (Epiphyllium)
A view of the top of the canopy suggests that the cactus outbid the philodendron for highest climber perhaps because it has no leaves.

This type of system is not a unique finding. You can see this interdependency throughout the Wonder Garden, in the Edison-Ford Winter Garden, in the CREW and even in your local neighborhoods.

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#Bromeliads #Stag Horn moss #Philodendron #Cactus (Epiphylium) #vines #air roots

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