Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On Safari

After our visit to the San Diego Botanic Garden last week, (or was it the week before - time flies?) we went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We have been zoo members for a couple of years but although I have visited the zoo before, I had never seen the Safari Park.  For UK readers its a bit like Whipsnade is to London Zoo - out of town and spread out! Anyway - as Philip is the animal person and I'd had my treat with the gardens the previous day, I was prepared to be patient but possibly bored. 

How wrong I was! The animals were OK - yes we saw elephants, gorillas, tigers, flamingos and so on. The elephant herd we discovered had been flown in from somewhere in Africa where they had been damaging a farmer's crops. (How I wonder do you fly elephants?) They seemed quite happy in a large pseudo African plain.  The tigers just behind the steel fence were magnificent and it was great to see the baby gorillas riding on  a parent's back. We missed the lions as the enclosure was being cleaned - what a job!

But the big surprise for me was the quality of the landscape and planting everywhere. It was every bit as good as a Disney Park and yes Disney landscapes are good! It was filled with an amazing variety of unusual trees and shrubs, beautifully arranged and maintained. I had expected some native scrub, trees and a few grasses. Having said that the landscape did change appropriately and the enclosures were planted  to safely create the animals' habitat. And its vast!

As always I took lots of pictures of plants. My greatest disappointment compared to the botanic garden was that plants were not labeled, so I've got quite a few mystery plants if Chad is reading!

Addendum - many thanks to Chad for correcting some of these and identifying those I didn't know! I owe him big time!

Banksia - species? - correction Leucospermum cordifolium - thanks Chad

Correction -another cultivar of Leucospermum cordifolium - thanks Chad

Bauhinia but not sure which? there are over 500 species! Probably B. variegata - thanks Chad

Colocasia 'Mojito'

Ficus altissima Variegata - I think!

Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi - a guess - Chad suggests K. manginii 'Benichochin' - ah but the botanists have reclassified and renamed so now Bryophyllum manginii 'Benichochin' - have you got that?

No idea! Chad gets it - Greyia sutherlandii

A tree - is it Acanthopanax? No - its probably Brachychiton acerifolius - again thanks Chad
Fishtail palm of some sort - Caryota 'Himalaya' - Chad gets it again!
Climber - looks familar but can't get it - Chad update  Kennedia rubicunda

Strelitzia juncea - fairly certain of that!

Snail vine - Vigna caracella - .Nomenclature complex - probably now V. speciosa


  1. We missed this part as we only had time to visit the Zoo proper, great photos!

  2. Lovely pictures Ian.

    Both the ‘Banksia’ are Leucospermum, both may be forms or hybrids of L. cordifolium.

    I think the Bauhinia may be a form or hybrid of B. variegata.

    I don’t think the Kalanchoe is fedtschenkoi; but it isn’t a genus I know well. It looks like a very good plant; a horticultural hybrid perhaps?

    The ‘no idea!’ looks like Greyia sutherlandii.

    The ‘Acanthopanax’ is a Brachychiton; probably B.acerifolius; the seed pods give it away. Acerifolius has notoriously variable leaf shapes, but I think that falls within the range.

    The ‘Fishtail palm’ is likely to be Caryota ‘Himalaya’ – the species is argued about and I’m not a palm expert. I think it is currently assigned to C.maxima in the UK and to C.urens in the USA!

    The familiar looking climber is Kennedia rubicunda.

    And finally I think your snail vine is ‘the other one’; known as ‘Phaseolus giganteus’. Vigna caracalla [sic] has the flowers more obviously in a spike. ‘Phaseolus giganteus’ is a bit of a problem; we all known which plant the name relates to, but it probably shouldn’t! The last time I looked it up Vigna caracalla had become Cochliasanthus caracalla. Phaseolus giganteus doesn’t exist in the formal literature. It might be Vigna speciose now?

    Happy Easter,


  3. Make that last name Vigna speciosa!


  4. WOW! I've been there a few times, and I even lived <15 minutes away in Rancho Bernardo. It looks even better than my last time in '97...they can really pull off the plant effects and even some specific species to Africa there, can't they?

    And good scenes / maintenance wherever one walks...

  5. After a bit of a hunt around, I think the 'Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi' is Kalanchoe manginii 'Benichochin'. And wouldn't you know it? The botanists have at this group too and it is now Bryophyllum manginii 'Benichochin'.