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August at the Botanical Garden – in Amsterdam!

September 10, 2011

I haven’t been to “my” botanical garden since June – partly because I’m getting a little bored with it, and partly because there just wasn’t time for it. But you get a special edition from the “Hortus Botanicus” in Amsterdam – with the usual delay, I was actually there on 0ver a month ago.

I’m less impressed with it now than I was the first time I went there, in 2007 – I’ve seen a couple of other gardens in the meantime, bigger ones… the outdoor area in Amsterdam is actually pretty tiny, but the greenhouses, while not nearly as impressive as the ones in Munich, are quite a bit bigger and nicer than the ones here.

A quick look around the outside – I had accidentally put my spare batteries in the luggage locker at the train station, so I couldn’t take as many pictures as I’d have liked. And it was a rainy day anyway.

I liked the succulents lined up along "gracht" - it looks kind of crazy together, the drought-tolerant plants and all that water! And it's also so typical of Amsterdam - water is everywhere in that city!

Pond with Victoria something-or-other water lilies, and lotus

For some reason, we found the giant rhubarb (Gunnera) very amusing the first time I was there - there had probably been some running gag involving rhubarb.

The Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) still behind bars (because it's very rare, though I'm rather amused by the idea that it's dangerous in a Whomping Willow kind of way), but a bit bigger than it was in 2007

The Wollemia in 2007

They also had a collection of… well. We’ll see if you recognize them. They’re pretty popular plants for window boxes and balcony planters here, every nursery has to have pelargoniums, petunias and these – at least, the hybrid varieties. Let’s see if you can guess what I’m talking about…

So? Do you know what it is? If not, don’t worry – I wouldn’t have put it in that genus either – I glanced at the tag as I was walking past and then turned back to stare because I couldn’t believe it.

Maybe this one is easier to guess?

This is closer to the more familiar varieties in shape, but so tiny!

Just like this one:

Guessed yet?


Fleeing the rain, into the greenhouses…

From a distance, I thought this was a Bougainvillea:

But then I sat down on a bench next to it to rest for a bit and glanced down at the tag, reading it mostly to practise my Dutch:

It’s actually a cactus, specifically Pereskia aculeata. The tag reads, “The Pereskia is the most primitive plant in the cactus family. While the more well-known cactus species have evolved to succulent plants without leaves, this pereskia still strongly resembles a “normal” plant. However, this distant ancestor does have thorns to protect itself against being eaten.” (To the best of my knowledge, anyway – I don’t really know a lot of Dutch yet.)

Weird, very flat creeping thing:

… that even crept across the glass:

There was a tag that said “Monstera” – I didn’t really believe that, but now, googling it, yes, it could be Monstera dubia.

(Edit: Tom from Theatrum Botanicum suggested Rhaphidophora cryptantha, and googling that, it seems like an even closer match.)

Walking among the palm trees:

Looking down…

And my favourite – the Pandanus veitchii (yes, I had a favourite I was looking forwards to seeing in a botanical garden I’ve only been to once before):

It’s about 3 metres high.

An aerial root – and not even one of the biggest:

I’m simultaneously hoping and fearing that my little Pandanus will be as big as this one day!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2011 04:38

    eeee I love botanical gardens. This reminds me, I should probably post about one of my many botanic garden trips I’ve been on lately… That “Monstera” looks like it could be one of the Rhaphidophora, possibly R. cryptantha which is closely allied with Monstera and epiprimnum.

  2. September 11, 2011 23:26

    I love how they put that pine behind bars to protect it! So adorable!

  3. September 12, 2011 01:03

    Great photos of the gardens!

    This made me laugh out loud:
    The Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) still behind bars (because it’s very rare, though I’m rather amused by the idea that it’s dangerous in a Whomping Willow kind of way),

    • September 12, 2011 07:18

      I just love that cage!
      … wouldn’t it be fun to stand there and pretend to be feeding the tree peanuts or something, as if it was a monkey – just to see the stares?

  4. September 13, 2011 02:58

    Now that’s a photo I’d love to see!


  1. More from Amsterdam « Letters & Leaves

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