|Number of plants found: 1172||Prev||Next||Go to page:||First||224||225||226||227||228||229||230||231||232||233||Last|
This leafy climbing orchid from hot, wet tropical America is grown for its pods which, when dried, become the commercial vanilla. The flowers are hand pollinated. The Aztec Indians in Mexico used Vanilla Pods to flavor their chocolate drink 'Xoco-latl'. Vanilla was introduced to Europe, and French started to grow it in Africa. Vanilla Pods are picked green when they have no scent. The lengthy curing process, which develops fragrant aroma, is one reason for its high cost. Vanilla was believed to be a tonic for the brain. They need a large pot and support for climbing. If really happy, Vanilla planifolia can exceed 100 feet in length in just a few years. They flower only when mature, which takes a few years. Propagated generally by cutting. Plant becomes Epiphytic with age. Water freely, less water in winter.
This genus of vine-like plants has a monopodial climbing habitus. They can form long thin stems with a length of more than 35 m, with alternate leaves spread along their length. The short, oblong, dark green leaves of Vanilla are thick and leathery, even fleshy in some species. But there are also a significant number of species that have their leaves reduced to scales or have become nearly or totally leafless and appear to use their green climbing stems for photosynthesis. Long and strong aerial roots grow from each node.
Most Vanilla flowers have a sweet scent.
Verticordia are known for their feather-like or fringed flowers, the beauty of these is invariably included in any description. This has been accompanied by a high desirability as a garden plant, and as a cut flower.
Not all Verticordias are small shrubs. For example Verticordia grandis grows to about two metres and throughout summer produces beautiful red flowers - the largest flowers of the genus.
This tough shrub also tolerates some extreme conditions, including soils that are wet in winter, but dry in summer and it too is fast-growing. In wet soils with poor drainage it will help to pump water out to make the area less boggy for other plants to grow in. Very rapid, clean growth in almost any soil is one great advantage of the species which can be put to any garden use in sun or shade.