Nymphaea caerulea (Nymphaeaceae) Blue Egyptian Water-Lily

This water-lily is native to the Nile River and East Africa, while now having spread throughout Africa all the way to the Cape region. Occasionally referred to as the Blue Lotus, it is not related to the actual Sacred Lotus of India though. The flowers, having a diameter of 8-15 cm, are borne on long stalks which emerge from the water surface and remain open during daytime.

The petals are light-blue on top and whitish below. This species is relatively hardy and thus commonly cultivated. There are several plants residing in the pond of the Mangrove House.

Asclepias syriaca (Apocynaceae) Common Milkweed

This impressive milkweed originates from eastern North America and is cultivated in the Steppe and Prairie section of the Palmengarten. The tall perennial herb forms a spherical cluster of purple flowers with a honey-like fragrance and abundant nectar which attracts many pollinators.

The flowers use a special trapping mechanism for pollination: the legs of insects get caught in narrow grooves, and when they pull their legs back out, they are ladden with pollen packages which they transfer to the next flower. The seed pods are dagger-shaped and about 10 cm long. They release a bushel of seeds bearing silky, fluffy seed hairs which once were used as filling for pillows in North America.


Cleome spinosa (Cleomaceae) Spiny Spiderflower

The spiderflower is an annual plant from South America. It grows to about 1.5 m and is commonly cultivated in summer flower beds. There are many varieties with colors ranging from white to pink. Around the Tropicarium you will find several of them. Our nursery produces a total of about 50,000 annual plants per year for all the changing arrangements, beds, and borders throughout the Palmengarten.

Hemerocallis hybrids (Xanthorrhoeaceae) Daylily

Daylilies occur from Europe to Asia, but mainly in China. They are popular ornamental plants. Many of the existing hybrids are based on the yellow-red daylily (Hemerocallis fulva). More than 13,000 cultivars of daylilies have been reported. These perennial plants can produce dense thickets. The blossoms last only for one single day, which lends to their name; they are edible and also used in TCM.


Nelumbo nucifera (Nelumbonaceae) Sacred Lotus

The Sacred Lotus is native to Asia and Australia where it grows in stagnant waters. It resembles water-lilies, but is not directly related. The circular leaves are up to 60 cm across and are borne on two-meter-long leaf stalks. The blossom is a symbol of purity. The leaves and marvelous pink flowers unfold impeccably clean despite the muddy or murky water from which they emerge. The surface of the leaves is covered with a special wax layer which has a self-cleansing effect (Lotus effect), which is now being used on a technical basis. In summer the pools around the Tropicarium are a special attraction boasting magnificent water-lilies and lotuses.

Romneya coulteri (Papaveraceae) Matilija Poppy

The perennial poppy grows to two meters and takes on a tree-like habit in its native Mexico and California. In summer it blooms with huge white flowers and many yellow stamens. This species was first described by Thomas Coulter who brought it to Ireland. In Europe the first plant bloomed in 1876 in the Botanical Garden of Dublin. Also, the generic name is associated with Ireland in that Romneya is named in honor of the Irish astronomer Romney Robinson. This species is difficult to propagate via seeds, so that the plant is seldom found in horticultural displays


Ground Cover Roses (Rosaceae) Ground Cover Roses

Straight ahead from the Entrance Siesmayerstraße is the Rose Garden. June is the peak season for the shrub roses, climbing trellis roses, and ground cover roses.

The Palmengarten has its own rose variety named “Palmengarten Frankfurt”. It was bred by Kordes and received the ADR seal (Anerkannte Deutsche Rose) in 1992. This seal is awarded only to roses that have been presented, evaluated, and approved in eleven German public gardens over a period of several years.

It is a bushy, ground-covering rose (60–70 cm high) with filled, pink flowers which are abundant from June to October; this variety prefers intense sunlight. At the Palmengarten it is located between the sweetgum trees in front of the Rose Garden.

Magnolia ashei (Magnoliaceae) Ashe's Magnolia

Magnolia ashei may also be considered a subspecies of M. grandifolia (bigleaf magnolia). The deciduous tree is native to eastern North America. It attains some 15 meters in height and is noted for its huge leaves. The fragrant white flowers (up to 25 cm in diameter) develop in early summer, much in contrast to Asian magnolias which bloom in early spring before the foliage develops. The spherical, cone-shaped aggregate fruit mature in autumn.


Aristolochia arborea (Aristolochiaceae) Pipevine Tree

The small tree is native to the tropical rainforests of Central America. The flowers are borne near the base of the plant. The center of the red-brown flower resembles a mushroom. Most likely it is pollinated by fungus gnats which normally lay their eggs in mushrooms. You can find this endangered species in the Lowland Rainforest section of the Tropicarium.

Gloriosa rothschildiana (Colchicaceae) Glory Lily

The Glory Lily is a relative of the meadow saffron and like it, contains the very poisonous colchicine alkaloid. It is widely distrubted across Africa and Asia. Its tuberous root system allows it to survive dry seasons. The vine bears red and yellow flowers of up to 20 cm in diameter. The beautiful plant is named for the renowned zoologist 2nd Baron Rothschild (1668–1937).

Several members of the bankers family Rothschild were interested in gardens and plants. Meyer Carl von Rothschild’s wife donated precious marble vases to the Palmengarten in 1892, these are now located in the Rose Garden.


Haemanthus coccineus (Amaryllidaceae) Paintbrush Lily

The Paintbrush Lily is native to the Cape region of South Africa. The generic name is derived from Greek: haima = blood and Greek: anthos = flower. After a dormancy period the bulb develops firm to robust, leathery leaves. The spherical flower cluster bears many orange-red flowers with long protruding stamens. The Palmengarten displays these beautiful plants in the Semidesert section of the Tropicarium and also during the flowering season several Paintbrush Lilies grown in containers can be admired throughout the Tropicarium.

Selenicereus pteranthus (Cactaceae) Princess of the Night

Similar to the Queen of the Night (Selenicereus grandiflorus) the Princess is also a climbing cactus originating from Mexico. In warm summer nights the huge flowers (up to 30 cm) open at dusk and wilt early the following morning. They are pollinated by bats. The fruit is red to purple, spiny and about the size of a small tomato. Several Selenicereus species thrive in the Semidesert section of the Tropicarium and also in the closed botanical collections. One of these splendid specimens can be admired through the windows from the outside.


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