The incredible aroid collection at Cairns Botanic Gardens

Cairns Botanic Gardens, situated just outside of Cairns City in Tropical North Queensland boasts an immensely impressive collection of aroids from all around the world. The conservatory is home to the majority of the aroid collection, as well as palms, ferns, carnivorous plants, orchids, bromeliads, and dozens of other plant genus’ that thrive in tropical conditions.

The conservatory features a huge number of plants frequently seen in private collection, ranging from plants anyone can buy at Bunnings to highly-prized rare specimens.

The king and queen of the anthurium world—veitchii and warocqueanum respectively—are the true showstoppers of the collection. There’s a couple of huge specimens of each in the greenhouse, both looking extremely happy and healthy.

It stings a bit knowing that it would cost thousands of dollars to be able to have those plants in my own collection; but that just makes you appreciate seeing them in the gardens all the more.

Anthurium warocqueanum

One unusual thing about the Cairns Botanic Garden’s collection is the inclusion of plants that don’t exist in the wild. There are a number of human-made cultivars and hybrids scattered throughout the gardens, particularly among the orchids, alocasias and colocasias.

One wall even features a Philodendron Pink Princess, a bubblegum-pink plant that was selectively bred in the 1970s as a bit of a novelty. The collection seems to focus on plants that look pretty rather than plants that strictly represent the natural environment.

The Xanthosoma lindenii (above) was a particular highlight. The species was the first “uncommon” plant I ever purchased. These days you can grab it Bunnings for around ten bucks, but back then it was pretty much only available in eBay auctions from a handful of people.

It long annoyed me that I could never grow a nice tall lindenii specimen, like the ones you see showcased on the internet. Each one would reach its third leaf and then immediate stop growing and throw out a bunch pups. I guess it made me feel a bit better to see that this is how they grow under near-ideal conditions; where they spread out like a blanket instead of growing tall.

Anthurium veitchii

Shane Gowland

Hi! I'm a plant enthusiast from Adelaide with a passion for sharing my plant knowledge and experiences. You can check out my collection on Instagram or learn more about me on my website.

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