Warm temperate 2 – Macaronesian flora and other island floras

Dense rosette of Aeonium tabuliformeCrocus sativusHaemanthus coccineus

The cool zone houses plants from the evolution collection, including displays of floral Diversity and adaptation to the environment, is home to many bulbous plants, and some of the garden’s Mediterranean collection, including plants from the garden’s collection of Macaronesian flora.

From the Canary Islands the succulent stemmed Kleinia neriifolia and Dracena draco are two further examples of convergent evolution to a seasonally arid environment. The Canary Island display illustrates the phenomenon of ‘adaptive radiation’ where related plants (or animals) evolve to fit the demands of each islands slightly different environmental conditions. In time plants from the other Macaronesia Islands, Azores Madeira, Cape Verde and the Savage Islands will be developed. A collection of plants from Madagascar is also being explored.

Carnivorous plants including the sticky leaved Drosera capensis and Pinguicula sp., together with the quick acting venus fly trap, Dionaea muscipula and spring trapped bladderworts Utricularia sp. trap insects by sticky leaves and movement. These plants highlight examples of convergent evolution in plants showing their adaptation to trap and digest animals to supplement their nutrient diet when growing on poor soils.

Future plans for this area include a display of plants illustrating extreme pollination relationship, for example fly pollinated plants: Sauromatum venustum and Arisaema consanguineum, together with a much extended collection of carnivorous plants including a large display of Sarracenia species and principal hybrids.

Illustrating adaptation to a seasonally dry environment, a large display of South African bulbous or ‘geophytic’ grow including: Haemanthus coccineus and Brunsvigia orientalis, whose orange-red flowers appear in autumn before the leaves emerge. The carion fly pollinated Ferraria crispa and bird pollinated watsonias are grown along with many other bulb species. In time more bulbous plants will be added to the collection from other Mediterranean Climate Regions.