Dedicated gardeners often develop a keen eye for exceptional plants and flowers. Learning about unusual species and trying to picture how they might fit into existing gardens can be a lot of fun. However, even in cases where some of the rarer flowering plant species are available for sale, it is really not necessary to own them in order to appreciate their special attributes.
The exotic shrub plant, Brazilian candles, is more formally called Pavonia multiflora or Triplochlamys multiflora. From the candlelabra-like form of its bright pink and purple flowers with blue stamens, it is easy to see how this native of Brazil got its name. This plant flowers profusely, its colorful flowers providing a dramatic contrast to its dark green leaves.
The Brazilian candles plant is a member of the Malvaceae family. It can grow to between 4 and 5 feet high given the right conditions. It prefers the morning sun and shade in the afternoon, and a minimum temperature of 32 degrees F.
The Ghost Orchid
The ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) is as mysterious as it is rare. Its botanical name honors Jean Jules Linden (1817 to 1898), a Belgian botanist who discovered the ghost orchid in Cuba in 1844. About 50 years later, the ghost orchid surfaced in Florida. For its protection, this endangered flower species exists in undisclosed locations in South Florida, though its exact numbers are a matter of speculation. The sphinx moth drinks the nectar from this exotic orchid and then goes in search of another ghost orchid to pollinate.
A ghost orchid plant named "Super Ghost" made horticultural history in 2007. Visitors to a natural reserve looking for owls spotted the super ghost growing 45 feet high in an old cypress tree. Because of its high perch, binoculars are necessary for viewing this plant. Its location is the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida.
A book called "The Orchid Thief: A Novel" by Carol Goodman, published in 2007, features the ghost orchid.
Princess earrings (Dichrostachys cinerea) are wondrous pink and yellow flowers that dangle from this small tree. They look like delicate earrings. The flowers begin in the pink and then fade out to white by the following day.
Princess earrings are native to South Africa. They are members of the Leguminosae family. These trees can grow to a height of about 20 feet. They generally flower all through the year, preferring full sun and temperatures of at least 30 degrees F.