What's in Bloom
Discover what's in bloom this week at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Each week highlights a specific plant in bloom, as well as listing four other selections in bloom around the Garden.
Updated: 3 hours 42 min ago
|Cardinal's guard (Pachystachys spicata) a member of the Acanthaceae family, is native to South America and the greater Caribbean. This ornamental tropical plant bears large clusters of brilliant red flowers along an erect terminal spike with overlapping green leaf-like bracts. The flower clusters are composed of 2-inch tubes with two central lobes at right angles and two protruding stamens. Its dark green, glossy, oval leaves have prominent veins and grow to 12 inches. The shrub will reach 6 feet in height and grows best in a sunny location in fertile, sandy, loamy, well-drained, moderately moist soil, where hummingbirds love to feed at its tubular blossoms. The name was validly published by Hipólito Ruiz López and José Antonio Pavon, but it was not until 1986 that Dieter Carl Wasshausen reclassified it into today's valid botanical systematics.|
|Cape jasmine (Tabernaemontana divaricata 'Flore Pleno'), a member of the Apocynaceae (dogbane) family, is a showy tropical shrub with extremely fragrant, nocturnal, double-white 1.5-inch flowers with crimped or wavy corollas. Its glossy 6- by 2-inch leaves are elliptic and wavy margined, colored mid- to dark green above and pale green beneath. Its many-branched foliage tends to grow almost parallel to the ground, giving the shrub an attractive horizontal aspect. The species name, divaricata, means "at an obtuse angle." A fast and easy grower, it reaches a height of 6 feet and a width of 5 to 8 feet. Native to parts of India, China, and Thailand, this plant thrives in full sun or partial shade, where temperatures are above 50 degrees in moist and fertile soil. Somewhat drought- and heat-tolerant, cape jasmine is grown for its ornamental features and grows very well in containers. Like many members of the Apocynaceae family, the stems of cape jasmine exude a milky latex when broken.|
|Kalanchoe, a member of the Crassulaceae (jade plant family), is a genus of 150 to 200 plant species, most of which are native to southern Africa, Australia, and Madagascar, where they thrive in the relatively cool plateaus of the Tsaratanana Mountains. Forever Maxi Pink kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana ‘Forever Maxi Pink’) is a new and distinct cultivar of kalanchoe developed in a controlled breeding program in Ashtabula, Ohio. These rounded, bushy, evergreen, succulent perennial plants have thick, green, glossy foliage and clusters of small, flat, pink flowers that can last for four to six weeks. Characterized by excellent basal branching with flower clusters that bloom above the foliage, this plant has simple, opposite, scalloped-edge leaves that are 2 to 4 inches long. Numerous flowers on the main stem plus eight or more lateral branches will have 30 or more flowers each. Each plant can reach a height of between 12 to 18 inches and a width of 4 to 20 inches. In the United States, kalanchoe species are primarily ornamentals and houseplants, but some have escaped cultivation and can be found in the wild, especially in Florida and Hawaii. They are popular with florists because they can be forced into bloom at any time of year, including holidays. If you receive one as a gift, enjoy it, because kalanchoe is not toxic to humans; but keep it away from your pets, because it is poisonous to household animals.|
|Often referred to as the classic corsage orchid or “the queen of flowers,” Jenman’s Cattleya Orchid (Cattleya jenmanii) is a dwarf-pseudobulb member of the large-flowered group of Cattleyas. Its compact habit, along with its strong, wonderful fragrance, and free-flowering nature are the most distinguishing features of the species. From a single sheath, it normally produces three to five showy, dark lavender 5-inch blooms on each stem. It grows both as an epiphyte on tree branches and as a lithophyte on rock outcroppings. In nature, Cattleya jenmanii is reported to flower twice a year; in cultivation, however, it is normally only an autumn bloomer. It requires the normal temperature range of 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 85 degrees during the day, and benefits from a lot of sun and good air circulation. Discovered growing along rivers in the dense jungles around the Gran Sabana in the southeastern corner of Venezuela, with humid summers and autumns and dry winters and springs, the Cattleya genus was named in 1824 by John Lindley after Sir William Cattley, who received and successfully cultivated specimens of Cattleya labiata that were used as packing material in a shipment of other orchids and tropical plants. The species was discovered and named in 1906 by John Rolfe, editor of The Orchid Review in honor of G. S. Jenman, the government botanist in Georgetown, British Guyana.|
|Sand aloe (Aloe hereroensis) is an African aloe native to the rocky and sandy soils in dry areas of the Northern Cape and Free State in South Africa, north into Namibia and Angola. A 20”-wide, ground-hugging, medium-sized succulent, it usually has only a few rosettes in a clump. Its smooth, pale blue-green leaves curve upward and are flecked with white lines on the upper surface and "H"-shaped spots on the lower. The leaf margins are well-armed with small, dark, sharp spines. In mid-winter to early spring, its flowers bloom in flattened branched racemes that are wider than long. They vary in color from brownish-orange to pink and are broad at their base and narrow near the mouth. The sand aloe thrives in the sun in well-drained alkaline soil that must be irrigated carefully so as not to overwater. Aloe hereroensis received its name from the original collection location in northern Namibia, which was home to the Herero, a tribe in the Bantu group, who live in Namibia, Botswana, and Angola. In the tribe's language, the common name for the plant is 'Sandaalwyn,' which translates to"sand aloe."|