Tropical & Rare Plants

There are many tropical and rare plants throughout the world. Some are rare enough that they are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES. Although it is possible to legally obtain seed and sometimes plant specimens of these tropical and rare plants, they are protected through international trade regulations. Growers of these protected plants should keep the paperwork pertaining to their collection in a safe place.

Bowenia Serrulata

Native to Northern Queensland, Australia, Bowenia serrulata, commonly known as Byfield fern, is actually a member of the cycad family. Although it is a tropical plant there has been some experimentation to see just how hardy this plant is. Using cold frames and other zone pushing techniques such as heat tape, it has proven hardy to 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Bowenia serrulata is on the CITES Appendix II list, meaning they are not currently endangered but they may become endangered if not properly protected; export permits are generally required.

Cattleya Orchids

The three Cattleya orchids listed on the CITES Appendix II list are Cattleya percivaliana, Cattleya walkeriana and Cattleya warscewiczii. Cattleya percivaliana is quite sensitive to water and light conditions. Cattleya walkeriana has been selected as a parent plant for creating over 200 new hybrid orchids because of its compact growing habit and pleasing rounded shape. Cattleya warscewiczii has large flowers. Native to Columbia, it is one of the better known orchids because it is often used in corsages. It is highly fragrant.

Worsleya Reyneri

Worsleya reyneri, nicknamed the Empress of Brazil, is a rare blue amaryllis that is native to the mountains of Brazil. In recent years it has become hard to find in its native habitat and is rare in cultivation because it can be difficult to grow. Growing from seed is possible, and often less expensive than finding bulbs. Worsleya is sensitive to overwatering, especially in winter, and may suffer rot from too much water. In warmer temperatures it tolerates more water.

Keywords: tropical & rare, rare plants, tropical plants, unusual plants

About this Author

Sheri Ann Richerson is a garden writer living in the Midwest. Her articles regularly appear in numerous gardening magazines. She is also the author of numerous books including "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Year-Round Gardening" and "101 English Garden Tips."