One of the benefits of visiting botanical glasshouses is that you get a glimpse of far flung places via their flora.
As the third and final feature on our recent visit to the glasshouses of Jardin des Plantes in Paris,we now take a look at the Glasshouse of the flora of New Caledonia.
New Caledonia is a group of several islands east of Australia in the southwest Pacific Ocean, and is a special collectivity of France. Reading more about this exotic and seldom heard of French territory (well by us at least), when it was first sighted by British Captain James Cook, he gave the name New Caledonia as the northeast island reminded him of Scotland (really?). Despite being first sighted and missionaries sent by the British, the administration of the islands were eventually taken over by the French and it has remained their territory ever since.
|A small glasshouse but impressive nevertheless!|
The climate of the islands are generally tropical but according to the information stand within the glasshouse, the plants were collected and represent its five sub-climactic regions: rainforest, dry forest, mining scrub, savanna, and a mangrove region. Sounds like this group of islands is a plant hunter's dream: remote, different climactic regions, diverse flora, and perhaps there are plenty more plants out there that are still waiting to be discovered.
|Meryta denhamii - with Gaz for scale|
|Meryta denhamii - we are more familiar with its cousin Meryta sinclairii where |
a large one can be found thriving in Tresco Abbey Gardens
And this little glasshouse has given us a taster of what sort of plants can be found there, many of which we have never seen in any other glasshouse and botanic gardens we've visited before and so are new to us.
|Another shot of Schefflera polydactylis|
|The conifer in the middle especially caught my eye - Araucaria scopulorum|
|And a close-up of its flower - Attractocarpus heterophyllus|
|My favourite conifer in the glasshouse - Araucaria rulei|
A little glasshouse but full of plant treasures! Who knows, maybe one day we'll actually get to visit these group of islands and see some of these flora in the flesh growing in their natural habitat. So many wonderful places out there and so little time, but one can daydream!