Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The UBC Botanical Garden, Part 1

I was very excited to finally visit the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research. Their website has been a great source of information for me and I’ve enjoyed their Botany Photo of the Day for years.

Walking towards the entry we were greeted by huge Alocasia and Colocasia.
And this big leaved specimen, sorry I don’t have a name. I love the white dew “frosting” on the leaves.
Meliosma pinnata var. oldhamii.
Close up of the explosion.
When I saw them I thought for sure these Echeveria secunda var. glauca were scheduled to be lifted soon for winter, but a little research tells me they are actually hardy to 15-20° F…maybe I’ll have to try a few next year.
They were certainly blooming their hearts out!
As were these bright red flowers, summer looked to be in full swing here!
Right by the ticket booth was this Wollemia nobilis, it stopped me in my tracks.
(Filled with jealousy) I had just read about Megan & Matti’s adventure locating a Wollemia nobilis in the Berkeley Botanical Garden and now here I was standing in front of a gorgeous specimen!

From the sign… “Wollemia, previously known from fossils as much as 90 million years old and thought to be extinct for at least 2 million years, was discovered alive in a rainforest grove in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, Australia in 1994…Fewer than 100 mature individuals of Wollemia nobilis exist in the Australian grove, making this one of the rarest and most endangered trees in the world.”
“This tree, “Little Billy,” is a first descendent propagation of the individual tree known as “the Bill Tree,” the tallest of the pines in the original grove. It is named after the American pilot, Bill Hollingsworth, who flew researchers into the area to do research and remove material for propagation. A number of samples were obtained by hanging upside down out of the helicopter. The Wollemi pine is not a true pine, but belongs to an older lineage of conifers that includes the familiar monkey puzzle tree, Araucaria araucana, and the Norfolk Island pine, Araucaria heterophylla….The species has been through plenty: from dinosaurs to multiple ices ages and extended periods of drought. We’re confident that with limited winter protection, it should be able to survive here.”
Of course now I want one!

As we were paying for our tickets it came up in conversation that we were from Portland, Oregon. The response we received upon sharing that news made me feel like a bit of a celebrity by association, after all we were from the same city that Cistus Nursery calls home! I’m serious; the fellow selling tickets was so excited about the plant possibilities I have at my finger tips that I was practically blushing. After we talked about Agaves and their kin he asked about one special plant in particular, the (much sought after) Schefflera taiwaniana, evidently he is as in love with this one as I am. I told him that while I didn’t think Cistus has that one quite yet they did have Schefflera delavayi, and I even admitted to having the opportunity to purchase a small one and passing it up. The shame.

The UBC Botanical Garden is broken into two halves by SW Marine Drive. Today we will visit the Asian Garden on the entrance side of the street. This part of the garden has a tall tree canopy, so taking good pictures with the deep shadows was a little challenging (that’s my disclaimer).

One of the first truly bizarre plants that we came upon was the seed pods of the Cardiocrinum giganteum, or giant Himalayan lily. This one can take up to seven years to produce its huge trumpet shaped flowers on stems that can grow to 15 feet tall.
The leaves of the Daphniphyllum macropodum were larger than they look in these pictures…

We came across a few scenes like this…
Eventually we learned that the “UBC Botanical Garden is well known for its collection of lianas (woody climbers), a growth form more often associated with tropical forests. Lianas are vigorous, shade-tolerant, climbing species that start as seedlings on the forest floor. Many eventually surmount the surrounding vegetation, smothering or strangling individual plants in the process. Once exposed to full sunlight at the top of the canopy, lianas often flower and fruit prolifically.”
They had an impressive Arisaema collection.
Although several had bent under the weight of their colorful seeds and fallen over. And this! There was an elevated canopy walkway which we could have paid extra to explore but since we had a busy day planned we chose not to, I’m glad as I think it would have been a little much for my stomach to handle.
Sorbus pseudovilmorinii.
Sorbus macrantha.
This peeling bark was glowing from a distance.
Okay, it’s time to enter the Moon Gate and pass under SW Marine Drive to arrive on the other side of the garden. Tomorrow we emerge in the Food Garden and then visit the Physic Garden, Alpine Garden and the Carolinian Forest...and that's where the really interesting plants are! Ya’ll come back tomorrow now ya hear?


  1. Beautiful! Isn't "garden envy" particularly difficult when visiting such gardens? Except, not the elevated walkway. I'll stick to the ground, please.

  2. Of course I'll be back for more of this beautiful and interesting tour!

  3. What cool plants, it makes my zone 8 heart skip a beat considering the possibilities. I can't wait for part II.

  4. I'm pretty sure the big, fuzzy-leaved beauty is a solanum of some kind.

  5. Weeping Sore, yes!

    Darla, hope you enjoy today's installment.

    Les, I always seem to forget you are a z8 gardener too, for some reason I think of your area as colder.

    Greensparrow, I would certainly trust your id. Funny I did a quick google and this is part of the first line in the Wikipedia entry: "the nightshades, horsenettles and relatives" I love it!

  6. Excellent blog post! Sounds like you had a great time. I look forward to reading about your visit to the other side of our garden. I work for UBC Botanical Garden and have "tweeted" out a link to your post on our twitter feed to bring more visitors to read your blog. It can be seen at twitter.com/ubcgarden

  7. The fuzzy plant is Senecio petasites. I'm glad you enjoyed our garden.

  8. hi,

    i'm 97.9% sure the fuzzy gorgeous is: Senecio cristobalensis - Red Leaved Velvet Senecio .

    really enjoy your photos! Thanks!

  9. Katie T, thanks for the tweet! And yes we did really enjoy our visit. Now of course I am itching to go back in the summer!

    Thanks Anon!

    And thanks to you too tedvan

  10. Hurray for Wollemi Pines! That one looks pretty big. I'm pretty sure the mystery fuzzy plant is Senecio cristobalensis too. Great pics!


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