This is my last weird fern (at least for the time being). This interesting and kind of amazing plant is a Psilotum fern. These resemble some of the most primitive plants known, lacking even conventional roots, but recent studies have shown they are actually a regression of a more modern fern. There are only two species in this genus, but they have a surprisingly wide distribution. In some parts of the United States, one of the species is something of a pest plant for greenhouse keepers. The other, however, is a very rare and very lovely specimen plant. These are suited for expert cultivation.
Photo © Flickr/Chad Husby
Taking a break from the weird, I wanted to get into the spicy. I love a good jalapeno--I do a lot of cooking, and generally have a little pile of jalapeno peppers in the refrigerator somewhere. I find a surprising number of dishes can be perked up with a little pepper. But growing them inside? Yes, it can be done. Although most people obviously grow jalapeno outside, they actually aren't terribly difficult to grow inside.
Photo © Flickr/Square Foot Hydroponics
My weakness for heavily tropical plants includes bananas, of course, so I was intrigued to run across a specimen of these "Abyssinian black bananas." They are non-edible, but a really beautiful plant with reddish coloration and a much lower growth habit than bananas, making them more suitable to grow in containers inside (although they too will eventually outgrow your growing area).
Photo © Flickr/pris.sears
So this series of posts coming up will feature a few plants, including these unusual Drynaria ferns, that you might never have heard of and will likely never grow. I know, I know. Not every useful. But indulge me a fondness for the exotic, beautiful and difficult. One of the reasons I love botanical gardens so much is the opportunity to see plants that I might not have the means to grow myself. I hope these profiles will fill the same desire for some of you.
Photo © Flickr/Ahmad Fuad Morag
If you ever--and I mean EVER--have the chance to visit a nursery that specializes in tropical, epiphytic ferns, jump on it. While orchids get all the glory, epiphytic ferns are no slouches. These beautiful plants are hard to grow, and you might not have everything you need to do it right, but you can still read about one of them, the Goniophlebium, here.
Photo © Flickr/C-N-S
Yes, yes, I know. Cheeky headlines abound. But it's also true: today's profile is the Globba genus, a tropical genus of about 70 plants with a most unusual flowering habit. The flowers seem to spring from bracts that hug the reed-like stalks kind of like, well, dancing ladies. These are tropical plants, and so therefore sort of rare, but still very interesting and they can be overwinted by digging the rhizome.
Photo © Flickr/Rantz
OK, while I'm at it, I figured I'd bang out a profile of chocolate sapote. I've tried these exceedingly strange fruit before and there's nothing quite like it. People call them the "chocolate pudding fruit," which is kind of true but would also be a sore disappointment to any child who thought they were getting real chocolate pudding. Still, these are a great novelty plant.
Photo © Rae Allen/Flickr
So it's time to do a round-up of recent plant profiles posted. I've been writing about the plants called sapote lately and once again ran into the silliness that is common naming for plants. There are at least three plants called "sapote" (white, black and mamey). Not only are these plants in different genus, they are even in different families. Crazy, right? Anyway, check out both sapote profiles, which are really cool novelty plants, and a profile on a nifty plant nicknamed the Panama hat plant because of its use to weave tropical hats.
Photo © Flickr/Wondoroo
The seersucker plant is another rare plant that's worth seeking out. These very unusual plants have striking variegated foliage with slightly puckered leaves. They are native to rainforests, where they are low-growing groundcover.
Photo © nipplerings72/Flickr
Often called the torch ginger, the Etlinger elatior is a rare plant outside conservatories and botanical gardens. It's a member of the ginger family, with flowers that arise from the roots to cluster around the tall canes. The effect is a remarkably beautiful, very tropical plant.
Photo © Tony Rodd/Flickr