The summer heat and humidity of Orlando can drive you bananas! So why not see a bunch in their natural state? One morning last week I strolled through beautiful Leu Gardens. This lush respite from city life made me feel like I was in a real rain forest!
A variety of plants thrive in the tropical stream garden. The path is quiet and shady with benches to sit and breathe in the beauty of your surroundings.
I’m not a botany expert, but I like plants, especially flowering plants. I was amazed at these colorful blooming bromeliads. Some bromeliads shoot out tall spikes to show off their flowers, but some have tiny flowers deep inside that you can only see if you look really close. In the photo below the blossoms are those minute lavender triangles inside the center cup that retains water!
Many insects and other animals depend on the water that is stored in the cup like center of a bromeliad. (By the way, bring insect repellant!)
The most well known bromeliad is the pineapple. Did you know they were named by early European explorers who thought they looked like pine cones?
While in the tropical stream garden, I learned that bananas don’t grow on trees! Instead they grow on stalks. Each flower spike develops a “banana heart”. After fruiting the spike dies, but new offshoots grow out of the base.
Some banana stalks are only ornamental. The ornamental bananas have colorful flowers but their fruit is inedible and full of small, hard seeds.