The UVM Greenhouse typically reaches the UVM community through agricultural and horticulture research and education, interacting with students in botany and horticulture classes. The greater UVM community is welcomed to visit the greenhouse anytime to explore the conservatory collection, but the staff has long wanted a new way to engage with the larger community present at UVM. The idea of having a small exhibit has been culminating in the back of each staff member’s mind, pulling inspiration from various gardens, conservatories and university greenhouses.
The greenhouse exhibit was created in the Fall of 2018 by greenhouse intern, Alexandra Melian, who worked alongside both Colleen Armstrong, the Greenhouse Director, and Tom Doubleday, manager of the BRC greenhouses, to select and highlight 12 plants from across the greenhouse collection. Each featured exhibit plant was selected under certain criteria based upon seasonal, ecological, economic, or taxonomic significance. The final list came down to:
Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata)
These individuals have incredible longevity, with some specimens reaching over 2000 years. They are a notable species due to their tolerance of extreme drought and heat present in the African savannahs.
Mosquito fern (Azolla sp.)
Mosquito ferns have a very prolific growth pattern.
Meyer lemon (Citrus x meyeri)
The Meyer lemon is revered among the culinary community for its only slightly acidic ctirus-y flavors, easily lending itself to a wide array of desserts.
Coffee (Coffea arabica)
Coffee has been celebrated for hundreds of years, and has embedded itself into many cultures and traditions across the globe. This crop has climbed its way up the economic charts, becoming the second most expensive commodity, after oil.
Cycad (Cycas revoluta)
This species is exemplary of the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) utilized across the UVM Greenhouse; they are commonly infested with mealybug.
Horsetail (Equisetum sp.)
Horsetail is well known archaic plant; they have reproduce through spore, and can spread through rhizomatous growth, making them weedy in some areas.
Anthouse Plant (Myrmecodia beccarii)
The Anthouse Plant serves as one of the three members of a symbiotic relationship involving ants and the Apollo Jewel butterfly
Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes truncata)
When most people think of typical tropical species, the pitcher plant comes to mind. These individuals can be carnivorous, at times even trapping small mammals.
Prickly pear (Opuntia sp.)
This plant is found throughout the entire United States. Surprisingly, it naturally occurs across the landscapes in every single state.
Moth orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)
Within the orchid trade, the moth orchid is the most popular species
Chocolate (Theobroma cacao)
Everyone has had chocolate at least once in their lives, but few know that prior to usage the cocoa seeds found within the pod must be dried and fermented.
Welwitschia (Welwitschia mirabilis)
A favorite of our greenhouse intern, Alexandra Melian, welwitschia is quite the oddity. It is a gymnosperm, placing it into the same taxonomic grouping as the common pine tree, referred to as a ‘living fossil’ for its age of up to 1000 years, and keeps the same pair of leaves throughout its entire lifetime.