Chicago Botanic Garden

What's in Bloom

What's in Bloom — Highlight 01.04.13

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Red Streak terrestrial orchid
(x Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite 'Red Streak') is in the Tropical Greenhouse, at the overlook.

Wonderland Express closes this weekend, but our greenhouses are open all winter! Stay tuned for more beautiful orchids, aloes, and cacti as they reach the peak of their blooms in the next few weeks.

Red Streak terrestrial orchid (x Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite 'Red Streak') was created by fourth-generation orchid grower George Hausermann of E.F.G. Orchids in Deland, Florida, by hybridizing Calanthe 'Rozel' with Phaius tankervilleae. The resulting hybrid is a compact plant that features multiple flower spikes, producing a total of up to 25 flowers at a time. The white buds open to reveal pink petals and a dark red throat.

Terrestrial orchids are orchids that grow in the ground in soil. This cultivar requires a long, hot, moist growing season followed by a cooler, dryer — but not bone-dry — dormancy in order to flower.

 

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Red Pearl lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea 'Red Pearl') is one of the more creative plant choices used in holiday displays. The small, glossy evergreen leaves create the perfect backdrop for the ruby-red fruit.

This lingonberry requires acidic soils with a large mixture of sand and peat moss for best growth, but its light needs are not as strict, and it grows well in full sun or partial shade. Small, upright, lateral branches near the center of the plant produce most of the flowers and fruit, while the low-lying horizontal branches rapidly expand the plant's footprint.

Red Pearl lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea 'Red Pearl') is in the Greenhouse Gallery.

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The single-leaf pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla) is native to pinyon-juniper woodlands at moderate elevations from Nevada south to Baja, California, and east to the Sierra Madre Occidentale in north-central Mexico. It is unique among pine trees in that it produces a single needle per fascicle, in comparison with other species that produce two, three, five, or more needles at each fascicle. Despite living in semiarid climates, the trees can be long-lived, with the oldest known specimen celebrating a birthday sometime in 1106 A.D.

In the Chicago area, plant this pine in sandy soils on high ground, or on well-drained slopes.

Single-leaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla) can be found behind the bungalows in the Wonderland Express exhibition in Nichols Hall.

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When grown in full sun and given frost-free conditions, white scarlet plume (Euphorbia fulgens 'Alba') displays creamy white flowers throughout the winter. These flowers are produced at the nodes all along the wandlike stems.

A native of Mexico, this deciduous shrub can reach up to 6.5 feet in height and width. The flowers are visited by native Mexican pollinating insects, and the milky sap deters deer browsing. When handling euphorbia, it is advisable to wear gloves, as the sap is also a skin irritant and can cause a nasty rash.

White scarlet plume (Euphorbia fulgens 'Alba') is in the Greenhouse Gallery, Nichols Hall, and the Greenhouses.

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Ashfield Weeper Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis 'Ashfield Weeper') will grow only as high as it is staked. When staked, the lateral branches are gracefully pendulous. If left unstaked, this cultivar can be used as a ground cover, and it is particularly effective if allowed to cascade over retaining walls. Like all hemlocks, it prefers acidic, sandy soils and protection from winter winds.

Ashfield Weeper Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis 'Ashfield Weeper') can be found next to the Chicago Water Tower in the Wonderland Express exhibition in Nichols Hall.