Friday, October 17, 2014

A Muggle's trip to Jurrasic Park

Just back from a trip to Florida  - a well earned vacation for my hard-working partner Philip, not sure if I earned it but I certainly enjoyed it!  We had wanted to visit the Harry Potter experience at Universal studios (yes - big kids!) and then decided to take a sentimental trip back to Fort Lauderdale, where we used to holiday twelve or more years ago, before we discovered Palm Springs. Universal Studios is of course a theme park and whilst Philip loves the fast rides, I don't but I do love the good horticulture and amazing range of plants that these places regularly display, so we are both happy!

The climate zone for Orlando is 9b and Fort Lauderdale 10b.  Palm Springs is also 9b but the great difference is of course that whereas Palm Springs is desert and currently in  drought, Florida is humid with a high rainfall, so the vegetation and many of the landscape plants are totally different. Florida is lush!  First a few pictures are of some plants that I liked and have identified - corrections please if I've made any mistakes!

Chorisia speciosa - the silk floss tree also seen by Jim a few weeks ago flowering in Italy
Chorisia in its dormant state with fruits seen last winter up near Los Angeles in California

Christia obcordata 'Stripe' - butterfly leaf

Clerodendron speciosissimum

Crinum asiaticum -  is it 'Album'?

Just a lovely Hibiscus - not sure of cultivar but had similar one before called 'Cherie'

Mussaenda - entirely new to me - no idea of species or cultivar - belongs to Rubiaceae family

Nymphaea caerulea - lovely!

Tibouchina - which one? Update - possibly T. graulosa - thanks Chad

Tillandsia usneoides - Spanish Moss - epiphytic - just hangs on the trees
Acalypha wilkesiana 'Kona Gold'
Fruiting cycad -  these primitive plants are related to conifers and so have exposed seeds

Heliconia wagneriana - I sense a painting to follow!
Torenia fournerii - just a bedding plant but like it!

Kigelia africana - the sausage tree - amazing fruits

Above plant in flower - this pic from internet
This last picture was taken in the Walt Disney Animal Kingdom and was described to us as a baobab from Africa - a form of Adansonia - now being a skeptic and knowing Disney, I just wonder if this is a real tree?
The next few pictures are of plants that I can't identify and hope that some of my readers can help me out - do please give me an identification or suggestion.

1. Acalypha - anyone know cultivar? - update 'Macafeana' - thanks Chad

2. Bushy tree, foliage looks like Cercis but bark doesn't look right. There are variegated cultivars but no mention of the red young foliage - update - Hibiscus tiliaceus 'Variegata' - thanks Chad

3. No idea! - update - Tibouchina grandifolia - thanks Chad

4. No idea - update - Ixora - possibly coccinea - thanks Chad

5. Impressive plant but again no idea! - update - Clerodendron paniculatum - thanks Chad

6. Straggly shrub - possibly a Cestrum- update - DC Tropics suggests a Duranta. which seems likely

7. Tree - is it Koelreuteria?

8. Tree? Update - Chad says  Caesalpinia pulcherrima - for once I am doubtful - sorry Chad - that species is very common here in California and is much more orange than the one I saw in Florida. See small pic below. But yes to the genus! Response from Chad - possibly cultivar 'Rosea' - yep sounds likely! Shucks - had finally hoped to get one up on Chad!

9. Compact bushes, common - should know this one! Update -  Ixora again - possibly 'Maui' cultivars

10. Nice variegation but can't place it! Update - - probably Costus - either speciosus or arabicus - thanks Chad

11. Straggly shrub - no ideas! Update Millettia reticulata - thanks Chad

12. Small tree or large shrubs - sparse flowering - update - Bauhinia galpiniii - thanks Chad
No prizes for identification but much appreciated if anyone can name any of these mystery plants. Next time - rest of our trip - Fort Lauderdale!


  1. If I can't travel I'll settle for your pictures. Thank you.

    Some possible ID’s Ian.

    1. Acalypha wilkesiana 'Macafeana'
    2. Hibiscus tiliaceus 'Variegata'.
    3. Is a Tibouchina, we grow this one under the name ‘grandifolia’ [or even ‘grandiflora’ which can’t be right!], but it is a huge genus that I haven’t gotten to grips with.
    4. Is an Ixora, possibly coccinea.
    5. Clerodendrum paniculatum.
    8. Caesalpinia pulcherrima.
    10. I think this is a variegated Costus [either speciousus or arabicus?] but I might be very wrong. I’m not even sure I have the right family.
    11. Has the look of something in the Polygalaceae. A Polygala or Monnina?
    12. Bauhinia galpinii.

    I don’t recognise the others at first go, and would need more detailed pictures to ‘work them out’.


  2. Update.

    I think 11 is Millettia reticulata .


  3. Many thanks Chad for all the identifications. Pleased that you are still reading. A couple more posts from Florida to follow, so some more tropicals for you in the next week or so!

  4. Hi Ian, they grow the 'red' one as Caesalpinia pulcherrima 'Rosea' in the South of France. I'm more sure of this name than of the ?Costus?

    Incidentally the Tibouchina higher up the thread before the numbers is [I think] the one grown as granulosa in California.


  5. Thanks again Chad! Few more to challenge you next week!

  6. Ian, do you think 9 could be Ixora hybrids?


  7. Yes - absolutely! Maybe 'Maui' hybrids which are dwarf and these were very compact.

  8. Pretty sure Cestrum has alternate leaves. Could #6 (orange berries) be Duranta?

  9. Thanks DC Tropics - seems possible. I know Duranta in flower as it grows here in California but can't recall seeing it with fruit.