Tag Archive | New York Botanical Garden

The Corpse Flower at the NYBG: I Saw It!

Corpse Flower From Right
Behold: The Titan-Arum, or Corpse Flower (All Photos By Gail)

On Wednesday, June 27th, I took a three-hour lunch break in the middle of a work day so I could take the train up the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in the Bronx to see the Corpse Flower bloom. I had been following the NYBG’s Instagram feed for a couple of days while it was on bloom-watch, and knew that once the plant blooms you have about 24 hours to see it before it wilts.  Considering that these plants bloom only once every 2 to 10 years, I knew it would be worth the hassle to get up there and, as you can see by these photos, it was!

Corpse Flower at a Distance

Here are some fascinating Corpse Flower facts that I learned while I was dancing around the selfie-takers to get these pictures. Titan-Arum (Amorphopallus titanium), or Corpse Flower is a native to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Its enormous flower spike is the largest inflorescence (flower structure) in the Plant Kingdom. This Titan-arum was nurtured in the warm tropical zone of the Nolan Greenhouses. The hot and humid conditions in the greenhouse mimic the natural conditions of Sumatra, and the plant must be watered and fertilized copiously. Titan-arum blooms are rare and unpredictable. Each plant takes seven to ten years to store enough energy to bloom for the first time. This Titan-arum is 11 years old.

Corpse Flower Wide Shot

The fleshy spike, called a spadix, bears small flowers in rings around its base. The spadix can grow up to 12 feet tall, and is wrapped in a frilly, modified leaf called the spathe. When the plant is ready to bloom, the spathe unfurls, exposing the flowers inside. You may recognized the structure’s resemblance to a calla-lilly, anthurium, and jack-in-the-pulpit, which are all relatives in the arum family, Araceae.

Corpse Flower From Left Narrow

Amorphopallus titanium is often called corpse flower because when it blooms it emits a powerful stench similar to that of rotting meat. This scent, along with the deep-red, meaty color of the open spathe, attracts insect pollinators that feed on dead animals. Which brings me to the question everyone wants to ask: how gross did it smell? From where I was standing, about five or six feet from the flower, the smell reminded me of when you empty the water from a vase that fresh-cut flowers have been sitting in for a week. Funky, but not repulsive. If you put your nose right up on it, it would probably be a different story.

Corpse Flower Close Up

Titan-arums take years to form flower buds, but when they finally do, the flowers mature very quickly. Horticulturists noticed that a six-inch-tall flower bud had formed on Friday, June 1st. By June 18th, the bud was 57 inches tall! Wow!

Corpse Flower From Right with Reflection

Later, growth slows significantly. Two leaves at the base of the spathe shrivel and fall off. The spathe begins to open, revealing the red-purple color inside, and completely unfurls over the course of about 36 hours. During full bloom, the spadix self-heats to approximately human body temperature, which helps to disseminate odor particles.

Corpse Flower with Babies

Displayed alongside the blooming plant are several other Titan-arums, in various stages of growth.

Corpse Flower Life Cycle

For most of its life, a Titan-arum lives as a dormant underground plant stem that stores energy. Occasionally it produces vegetation that grows up  to 12 feet tall. Though it looks like a slender tree, this structure is botanically only one enormous leaf, divided into many small leaflets. The leaf collects energy for 12 to 18 months. Between leaf cycles, the plant goes dormant for up to one year.

Corpse Flower From Left

The smallest plants on display are the seedlings that are decedents of the plant that flowered at the NYBG in 2016, and another Titan-Arum that bloomed at the Denver Botanic Gardens one week later. The NYBG collaborated with colleagues in Denver to use pollen from the New York plant to pollinate the flowers of the Denver plant. In seven to ten years, these plants may produce flowers of their own.

The Garden’s previous Corpse Flower — the third specimen ever to bloom at NYBG — is the one that bloomed in late July, 2016, attracting over 25,000 visitors to the Garden in just a few days. This is only the fourth Corpse Flower to bloom at NYBG since June 8th, 1937. If you ever have the chance to see one of these plants in person, you should definitely take advantage of it. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!!

All Photographs were taken in the Enid A, Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY.

Corpse Flower From Right 2

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Fabulous Photos From the 2018 Orchid Show at NYBG!

Purple Array
All Photos By Gail

The New York Botanical Garden’s annual Orchid Show for ended a couple of weeks ago, but if you weren’t able to make it all the way to the Bronx for the 2018 edition of this landmark event, you can now live through me with a selection of my favorite Orchid photos from the show. Enjoy!

Enid A Haupt Conservatory

The show takes place each year inside the beautiful Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the garden’s climate controlled glass treehouse which is based on an Italian Renaissance design. I visited the show on a frigid Sunday in late April and, like these lovely tropical plants, I was very grateful for the warmth!

Orchid Show Signage

This years show featured installations by Belgian flora designer Daniel Ost.

Tube Orchids

Just inside the conservatory, you enter the Palms of the World Gallery, where Ost installed a monumental living sculpture of orchids entwined within a network of transparent tubing — which mimics the jungle vines on which orchids grow in their natural environment.

Tube Orchids Detail

Cascading White Orchids

Two Yellow Orchids

White with Purple Orchids

Flame Orchids

The show features hundreds of varieties of orchids, and while many of them may look similar, each plant has unique characteristics.

Orange with Red Orchids

Dancing Lady Orchids

These look like little Ballerinas, don’t they? I think so.

Pink Orchids in a Tree

Orchids live mostly in the air, attached to trees, rather than on the ground, rooted in the soil.

Leopard Orchid

Leopard Orchids

Cascading Purple Orchids

Its almost impossible to resist taking one photo after another after another.

White with Purple Orchid

Orange and Red Orchid

Look, how beautiful is this one, which its bright crimson center?

Tiny Orange Orchids

White with Purple Array

White with Purple Array

Bright Fuchsia Orchids

You might this that this bright fuchsia bloom is identical to the ones at the top of this post. But if you go back and compare the two, you will see many differences, aside from the similar color.

White Orchid with Purple Spots

White Orchid with Purple Center

Pale Pink Orchids

I’m sure you can see how moving from room to room, being continously faced with so much breathtaking beauty, can be a bit overwhelming.

Tree Orchids

Spotted Yellow Orchids

Tree Orchids

Here’s a reminder to look up!

Full Hanging Orchids in Fountain Room

About half way through conservatory, you come to a room with a fountain in the middle of a  long reflecting pool , which runs through its center. This is the room where everyone stops to take all kinds selfies and posed photos, so it gets pretty congested. You have to indulge people though, because as you can see it is quite beautiful.

Hanging Orchids in Fountain Room

The fountain is draped by a curtain of hanging orchids.

Orchids By Fountain

Purple Planter in Fountain Room

As hard as it is to leave the fountain room, there are many more orchids to discover!

Array of White Orchids

Pale Yellow with Purple Center

Pink and Purple Orchids

White With Purple Center

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of this year’s Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden, and that if you live in NYC area you will add a reminder to visit to your calendar for next year!

Purple Array

Midtown Skyscrapers Made From Plants at the NYBG Holiday Train Show

Midtown Skyscrapers
All Photos By Gail

The New York Botanical Garden’s annual Holiday Train Show just closed for the season this past weekend, so if you missed it, there’s always next year! I had the chance to check it out with a friend on the Saturday when we had that amazing snow storm here in the city, and it was a pretty sweet time. The Train Show —  which is about so much more than just model trains —  takes place inside the enchanting setting of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, where you can travel back in time, it seems; wandering through  miniature landscapes featuring more than 150 scaled iconic buildings, private mansions (many of which do not exist today) and other structures which stretch out  amid the plants,  under thousands of twinkling lights through various rooms of the conservatory. Also, there are model trains, but they are not necessarily the show stoppers!

Enid Haupt Conservatory

Inside the glass domed conservatory is an authentic city in miniature, where famed New York architecture is recreated using bark, leaves, and other natural materials. The recent exhibition had expanded since the previous year, with more trains, an all-new Queensboro Bridge, and a true New York finale featuring a whimsical tribute to the iconic Coney Island amusement park’s architecture and attractions, which was one of my favorite assign with cluster of some of NYC’s most iconic, landmark towers.

Midtown Skyscrapers

Here’s another view of the section which featured the NY Stock Exchange, the Flatiron and Chrysler Buildings, the Empire State Building and, up front, Rockefeller Center.

Rock Center Tree

There was even a miniature replica of the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, flanked by the gold statue of Prometheus, who represents the ancient Greek legend of the Titan, bringing fire to mankind. And I even managed to get a train in this picture — not always easy to do, as they can zoom by quite quickly!

Enid Haupt Conservatory

Find out more about the NYBG Holiday Train Show, and start planning your visit for late 2017, at This Link!

The Orchid Show at The New York Botanical Garden

NYBG Orchid Show Signag
All Photos By Gail. Click on Any Image to Enlarge

The Orchid Show is going on now at the New York Botanical Garden and I made the trek from the East Village all the way to the Bronx today with my friend Diane (aka Diaaahhhhne) to check out the flowers and enjoy a day outside in the 50 degree sunshine. Because winter is almost over!

NYBG Snow on Ground

There was a little bit of snow still on the grounds from last week’s storm. It was pretty!

Even though it is still a bit chilly out, you’ll be nice and warm inside the glass domes of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, which has been climate controlled to mimic rain forests and other climates in which the orchids live.

Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
Enid A. Haupt Conservatory

Orchid Show Schedule

If you looked through a slide show of the 80 some odd photos I took on my visit, you’d probably conclude that I took 80 photos of purple flowers but, as you’ll see, orchids come in innumerable subtle variations of shades of purple and violet, as well as many other different colors.

Magenta Orchids

Orchids with Reflection
Note that although the flower’s color seems washed out from the sun, it is still vibrantly reflected in the water.

Deep Purple Orchids

Purple Leopard Orchids

Purple Leopard Orchids Close Up
Close Up of the Previous Photo. I am not sure what these orchids are called but they look like Leopard Orchids to me!

The show is set up in several rooms throughout the conservatory. In one room a soothing, ambient soundtrack played that reminded me very much of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports. Diane said that the music made her feel like she was getting a massage.

Fountain and Orchids

Yellow Orchids

Multi Colored Orchids

Pansy Orchids
Pansy Orchids!

Light Violet Orchids

Orchids Vanilla Sign
I Did Not Know That!

Dancing Lady Orchids
Dancing Lady Orchids

Orange Orchids

Tiny White Falling Orchids

Peach Colored Orchids

Find out more about The Orchid Show — which runs to April 22nd, 2013 — and related events at NYBG at This Link! Don’t miss it!