Chrysanthemum hybrids (Asteraceae) Mums

Chrysanthemums are centered in East-Asia. One popular Central European species is the marguerite (Leucanthemum vulgare). Garden “mums” have been cultivated in China for more than 3000 years.

The flower heads consist of many ray and disc florets. The ray florets are white to orangish or red-pinkish. Wild species usually have yellow disc florets. There are filled and nonfilled varieties with often bizarrely contorted ray florets. Mums are traditional autumn flowers. The Palmengarten devotes its annual “Autumn Flowers” exhibit to this group of impressive herbaceous ornamentals.

Decorative Dahlia ’Pink Suffusion’ Decorative Dahlia

Dahlias comprise about 28 wild species native to the New World from Mexico to Columbia. The tuberous plant produces shoots that can attain more than nine meters, and which are mostly unramified.

There are numerous cultivated varieties with simple or filled flowers in most color with the exception of blue. As most dahlias are not hardy, the tubers must be dug out before the winter and stored in a cool and frost-free area. Along the Tropicarium a row of dahlias extends all the way to Haus Leonhardsbrunn.


Brugmansia hybrids (Solanaceae) Angel's Trumpets

Angel's Trumpets are nightshades, and as such highly poisonous. In the evenings, their bell-like flowers release an intensely sweet perfume – which, in their native habitats, attracts the pollinating bats.

They abundantly produce flowers throughout the warmer seasons of the year. Before the winter they are cut back and hibernate in the nursery. You will find angel’s trumpets in huge containers at various spots in the Palmengarten, for instance in front of the entrance to the Mangrove of the Tropicarium.

Canna indica ’Stadt Fellbach’ (Cannacaeae) Indian Shot

The botanical name is somewhat misleading as the “Indian Shot” is not from India but rather native to the western Caribbean islands and tropical South America. The various species can be easily crossbred, which has led to a profusion of many different hybrids and varieties. With adequate supply of fertilizer, the most vigorous attain a height of up to five meters.

They abundantly produce flowers throughout the warmer seasons of the year. Before the winter they are cut back and hibernate in the nursery. You will find angel’s trumpets in huge containers at various spots in the Palmengarten, for instance in front of the entrance to the Mangrove of the Tropicarium.


Taxus baccata (Taxaceae) Yew

The Yew is a poisonous plant. This evergreen conifer produces red or yellow berries (actually cones) the sweet, fleshy part (the aril) of which is actually harmless – the hard seed inside contains toxic compounds though. Individual plants are unisexual, so that only the female plants will bear the colorful “fruit”.

Close to the main playground there is 300-year-old yew (female plant) – it was replanted in 1907 in a spectacular undertaking of transferring the tree from the former Botanical Garden at the Eschenheimer Turm to the Palmengarten, which necessitated the temporary dismantling of parts of the streetcar’s overhead powerlines.

Selinum wallichianum (Apiaceae) Wallich Milk Parsley

Many umbelliferous plants very closely resemble each other due to the typical flower cluster (umbel), the commonly white petals, and the multiply divided leaves. The family contains many spice plants such as aniseed and caraway, but also many attractive perennial herbs.

The Asian Wallich Milk Parsley is one of prettiest umbellifers. Flowers are profusely formed into late fall, when most other umbelliferous plants have wilted away. The plant can grow as tall as 120 cm and thrives best with lots of sunlight and draining.


Etlingera elatior (Zingiberaceae) Torch Ginger

This most spectacular kind of ginger with its huge red torches occurs naturally in the rainforests and along riverbanks of Southeast Asia. It has been extensively cultivated and marketed as an ornamental since its scientific discovery in 1820.

You will find the plant in the Lowland Rainforest of the Tropicarium.

Thunbergia mysorensis (Acanthaceae) Indian Clock Vine

The Indian Clock Vine, a relative of the popular Black-Eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata), is a proficient climber. It is native to southern India and can climb up to ten meters with its slender, flexible shoots.

The conspicuous, long and hanging flower clusters (up to 50 cm) make it a popular ornamental throughout the tropics. Individual flowers are about 5 cm across. You will find this wonderful plant in the Monsoon Forest of the Tropicarium.


Musa coccinea (Musaceae) Red Torch Banana

This relatively small-growing banana is native to tropical Southeast Asia. With its maximum height of about two meters it is ideally suited to be grown as a container plant. The “trunk”, as in other bananas, is not woody and actually consists of the firmly packed leaf sheaths, meaning that are not trees but rather herbaceous perennials.

This banana plant has upright flowering shoots (rather than the hanging ones in cultivated bananas) and they are pollinated by birds in contrast to the case of cultivated bananas which are pollinated by bats. You can find the Red Torch Banana in the Lowland Rainforest section of the Tropicarium.

Stanhopea graveolens (Orchidaceae) Fragrant Tropical Orchid

This Central American orchid produces a particularly interesting, strong fragrance – a mixture of different kinds of essential oils. Male euglossid bees collect these fragrant substances to mark their mating territories.

The Palmengarten holds an extensive collection of orchids, the highlights of which being on temporary display throughout the Tropicarium in specially dedicated showcases.


Lapageria rosea (Philesiaceae) Chilean Bellflower

This is the Chilean national flower (copihue) – a leafy shrub or climbing vine from the Valdivian Rainforest of Chile. The firm, conspicuous, red or pink flowers contain abundant amounts of nectar collected by hummingbird pollinators.

Several varieties have been cultivated. We present this special beauty in the Entrance building as well as in the Subantarctic House.

Impatiens morsei (Balsaminaceae) Velvet Love

This impressive Impatiens is native to China and Vietnam and is named after the British plant collector H. B. Morse (1855-1934). In the 1990s it began to be marketed under the name 'Secret Love' or 'Velvetia'.

The profusely flowering plant has almost disappeared from the market though, and is now limited to displays in botanical gardens or other plant collections. You will find it in the Cloud Forest of the Tropicarium.


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