Have you visited our rainforest lately? It took some time for our plants to settle in, but many of them are finally rooted in enough to begin flowering and fruiting. This picture was taken of our Brassia verrucosa just a couple of days ago:
Tucked in here and there between the green leaves and mosses are gems of elegant shape and delicate coloring.
Although we have several nectar feeding stations throughout the rainforest, we also have many plants such as Hamelia patens to provide a nectar meal for the butterflies. Our Costa Rica Level is the most popular hangout for many of our butterfly species which include Heliconius hecale:
Most of the plants in flower are on the vertical planted walls, scattered throughout the exhibit, specially designed to display the diversity of epiphytes that live in tropical rainforests. This is our Borneo planted wall which is home to many of our carnivorous pitcher plants:
Epiphytes, including most orchids, are plants that grow on other plants and use these plants for support to get closer to the light.
Here is Maxillaria sanguina, one of our orchids frequently in flower on the planted walls on Costa Rica level.
Next time you visit our rainforest be sure to scan all of the planters, planted walls and hanging vines. It takes a careful eye to spot everything from tiny 2 inch orchids, to occasional mushrooms!