Epiphyte tree

Epiphytes growing in trees of subtropical style garden plus photos of garden flora and fauna.

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Ansellia africana

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Ansellia africana
Ansellia africana is a contender for the driest growing epiphytic orchid from Africa. It is the only epiphytic orchid not only in Botswana but in Namibia as well. It is sometimes found growing on Baobab trees. Here's an awesome habitat photo of Ansellia africana... http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheepdog_rex/5039388073/in/faves-epiphyte78/ As such...it is ideally suited for growing on trees here in Southern California. It would be really really great to see these growing epiphytically at our local botanical gardens...rather than in large pots sitting on the ground...not going to mention any names...The LA Arboretum :D The one in the photo had three spikes this year...but only two are visible in the photo. Unfortunately, the flowers get in my way when I climb the tree so they get kinda beat up. Ansellia africana has two types of roots. One type crawls along the branch and the other type grows straight up in the air and creates a liter "basket". This liter basket captures falling leaves and branches. The basket is super convenient for sowing all types of seeds and adding succulent cuttings to. Last year, as one of my crazy experiments, I sowed a gazillion seeds from my largest Echeveria all over the tree. You can see one of the larger seedlings very happily growing in the Ansellia's basket...several larger seedlings growing in the Dendrobium speciosum's basket (http://www.flickr.com/photos/epiphyte78/7618683394/in/photostream) and another large seedling (http://www.flickr.com/photos/epiphyte78/7586828722/in/photostream) growing beneath a Begonia boliviensis. This Echeveria forms a very thick and tall stalk. The one in my front yard has a stalk perhaps around 2' tall. Of course I couldn't resist attaching an orchid to it! It will be interesting to see what happens when the Echeveria growing in the Ansellia's root basket starts developing a trunk. Perhaps the Ansellia will attach its roots to the Echeveria's trunk. Or perhaps I'll attach an orchid to its trunk.
Posted by Carlos Cruz on July 19, 2012 Full Size| Slideshow

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2 Comments

Reply Carlos Cruz
5:37 PM on July 27, 2012 
I've managed to inspire a few of my friends to grow plants on their trees. In fact, we've very informally established an Epiphyte Society of Southern California. It's mainly people from my fern society.

The biggest challenge will be to get them to share their photos online! Only my friend Jerry has done so... http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ Tomorrow four of us are driving down to Kartuz nursery so I'll use that opportunity to encourage them to share their photos.

This site you have is really great. I'm sure it will do a lot to help get people thinking vertically.
Reply epitree
11:42 AM on July 27, 2012 
Great looking orchid and very informative desription I often see epiphytes stuck in pots or inground and think why dont they sit them in the forks of their trees but in fairness to most people growing stuff in trees is an unknown concept.Trying to do my bit to change that though.