Can plants be spooky? Many of the exquisite specimens on display now in Selby Gardens’ tropical Conservatory have bizarre forms that have an active imagination and could easily seem “monstrous” or “grotesque”!
Blooming for a brief time is Tacca integrifolia ‘Nivea’, the haunting white bat flower from Southeast Asia. With common names such as devil flower and tiger’s whiskers, this plant is reputed to be feared by native Malaysians who believe that looking into the seemingly, following “eyes” (flowers) will curse the observer! Also in bloom is a most unusual looking orchid, the medusa orchid, Bulbophyllum medusae, a spidery white epiphytic orchid from the jungles of Southeast Asia. The species and common names of this unforgettable orchid is a reference to the way the flowers are reminiscent of the snake-haired gorgon Medusa of Greek mythology. Other creepy plants on display include the green, slug-like rhizomes of the Lecanopteris fern, deadly carnivorous pitchers of the Asian Nepenthes plants, the bloated and warty stem of the ant-plant Hydnophytum, and the ghostly floating flowers of the lady-of-the-night orchids, Brassavola nodosa. Several orange-flowered species of plants are also in bloom as well as our chocolate tree, Theobroma cacao commonly found in trick-or-treat baskets.