What Grows Inside the Observatory of Flowers

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Don't be fooled by the name, the Observatory of Flowers isn't just a greenhouse filled with flowers. I chaperoned my daughter's 4th grade class field trip to the San Francisco Observatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park this past Wednesday and much to my surprise, I found that there were more than flowers inside this historical building. The Observatory was built in the late 1800's and is the oldest building in Golden Gate Park as well as the oldest observatory in the U.S. The building was painted white to prevent too much sunlight heat from penetrating through the glass.


The first thing I immediately felt was the heat and humidity inside the Observatory. Our tour guide led us to the Aquatic Plants area first. I love the beautiful lotus and waterlily pond with koi fishes. Look how big those lily pads are!
 Musa Velutina Pink banana...
I find this orchid species, Coelogyne Pandurata, interesting. It grows on the trunk of a tree and through adaptation, it stores water in pods to sustain itself during dry seasons.

Sorry, I have no idea what this huge plant or flower is...

Next, we went to the Highland Tropics area or room. The Dioon Spinulosum tree was around when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. If memory serves, I believe the tour guide says it's the oldest tree in the world.

The third room was the Lowland Tropics where different species of plants grow on tree logs or trucks.

I forgot which room Vanilla Planifolia was in. I never knew the vanilla beans we use in cooking was from the orchid family. It's not blooming season for the fruit which is why there is no vanilla bean pod shown in the picture.
The potted plants and flowers was the last room we visited. This is the cobra plant.

Tropical butterflies...

17 comments:

Buckeroomama said...

Wow!!

That huge plant is some sort of a pitcher plant. I love those. :) We had miniature ones of those before but had to give them away *sniff, sniff*

levian said...

it is the Nepenthes. some called it the pitcher plants. we have quite a few planted in our garden. sometimes it felt like the plants are alive n moving like animals when we look at them up close. :p

Ami said...

That is a really wonderful place! I would love to see it.. hubby would, too.

Next time I'm down that way I will try to get there.

Nice pics, too.

Veronica Lee said...

We call it the pitcher plant or monkey cup over here. Monkeys drink rain water collected in the cups!!

Awesome pics, Rosebelle!

Missed ya, sister!!

Bananazą®‡ said...

Great! Ah ha..Musa Velutina Pink banana..Autumn Belle just mentioned about it..tQ

Autumn Belle said...

These are special plants that we don't get to see everyday. Yeah, I was telling Bananaz that Musa velutina is a special species of banana where the fruit unpeel itself while still attached to the plant when it is ripe.

Ash said...

well what do ya know? we learn so much from our blogger friends. :) hope you all had fun!

~ash's mum

foongpc said...

Oh that's the pitcher plant as Levian had already mentioned. Nice tropical butterflies!

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Great plants on display. I like the cobra plant _ lucky thing it is not ready to strike at anyone!!!

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

In the spring my daughter's class will go to our version of your flower observatory. Ours is called Phipps Conservatory. Yours looks much much bigger. Bigger lily pads too!

Wendy said...

what a great trip to chaperon. I be the kids loved those interesting plants!

TK said...

What a nice place to visit. The pitcher plant can only be found in thick jungles in tropical countries. It's a rare plant. We call it periuk kera or if it's translated to English it is called Monkey's pot.

Mei Teng said...

I believe we have the same kind or almost similar types of pitcher plants over here too. Those plants are carnivorous.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

You've taken some wonderful shots of the conservatory of flowers. I've been there many times and you are right it is so humid there. You went during the Chomp exhibition with the carnivorous plants. How cool. Very nice photos, you captured it well.

Mama Zen said...

What a fantastic place!

Cheryl said...

What an amazing place to visit. I would so love to visit it, maybe one day. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and lovely photos.

AVCr8teur said...

You can spend days there taking pictures of exotic flowers and plants. The lily pond is beautiful.