16 Jul 2021

Conserving rare plants at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

Alex Summers

We have Aristolochia salvadorensis, also known as the Darth Vader plant due to its flowers looking like the helmet of the famous Star Wars character! 

Cuttings have been taken of them at the start of July and they are going to be grown on in the hot, humid environment of our hottest service house also called NG1. Once roots have formed, they will be potted on into individual pots and we will wait till they are of a good size for them to be planted out into the Tropical House. Some of these plants can give off an unusual, if slightly unpleasant smell, this attracts pollinators such as flies in the wild.

We are also soon to be introducing into our Tropical House a few more bananas, wild collected from the humid climes of areas such as Borneo, they are currently growing well in our service house. One is vigorously growing in an air pot and soon we will plant it in the ground, before it tries to escape its pot! 

Nepenthes glabrata cuttings are also being taken so that we can enhance our collection of pitcher plants.  These beautiful plants have a deadly secret, they prey on predominately insects, once entrapped, they use them to feed itself in low nutrient environments.