Hot 'n' steamy
- Built in 1978
- Desired temperature: 20 - 24ºC
- Relative humidity: 80%
The main feature of this house is a limestone cliff which provides the environment for members of the African violet family, the Gesneriaceae.
Within the Gesneriaceae there are such horticulturally important plants as the goldfish plants (Columnea) and the lipstick vine (Aeschynanthus).
Around the edges of the house are the spectacular flowers of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Many of the plants in this family are sources of essential oils. Others, such as the roots of turmeric or the flowers of cardamom, provide important spices and medicines.
A range of tropical climbers from passion flowers (Passiflora serrulata) to Dutchman's pipes (Aristolochia trilobata) and the striking jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys), provide natural shade for the ground-cover plants.
Hiding around the back of the waterfall a 1000lt pot can be found, in this pot is the tuber (a swollen underground plant structure enlarged to store food reserve) of our Amorphophallus titanum (Titan Arum).
In 2003, when the Garden received the tuber from Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, it was about the size of an orange, but by 2010 it weighed in at a record breaking 153.95 kg.
The titan arum was first collected by Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari in 1878 and has been a botanical curiosity ever since.
On 30th April 2011, a bud emerged and now we wait to see if it is a leaf, or if at last we have a flower.