PHYLLIS ODESSEY

in the eye of the beholder

Delta Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum raddianum)

You might think creating a herbarium is a really tedious task.  And I guess it can be.  The New York Botanical Garden currently has a small show of a few of the 7.8 million specimens that are housed on the upper floors of the International Plant Science Center on view.  It is the second largest herbarium in the world.  The Herbarium contains all plant groups – flowering plants, conifers, ferns, mosses, fungi, lichens, liverworts and algae from all over the world.  As impressive as this is and as useful as it may be scientists, botanists, ecologists and conservationists; what I love about these specimens is how incredibly beautiful they are and how artfully arranged they are.  I apologize for the poor photos – they are of course, all in glass cases.

Egyptian White Water Lily (Nymphana lotus) The arrangement of flower and leaf in this specimen mimics how this water lily grows in nature.

Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum) This enormous tropical plant from Sumatra bloomed at NYBG for the first time in 80 years in July 2016.

Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) This hibiscus was collected as part of an ethobotanical study of tropical medicinal plants in the Caribbean. Hibiscus teas are thought to treat heart and kidney disease.

Clusia (Clusia grandifolia) Clusia is a tropical American plant important for its antiseptic properties.

Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale) Closely related to the poppies used to extract opiate compounds, this poppy is more notable for its beautiful appearance and is a popular garden plant.

Disteganthus (Disteganthus morii) This tropical bromeliad was discovered in Suriname in 2015 by NYBG scientists who name it for their colleague Scott Mori.

Spiny palm (Plectocomia pierreana) This specimen with unusual scaly fruit was collected in Vietnam by NYBG palm specialist Andrew Henderson.

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