--- Contributed by Meredith Pratt
Tired of the Wyoming wind and cold? Come escape to the tropics in the Williams Conservatory! Plants native to South Africa, Madagascar, Brazil, India, etc. fill the rooms of the conservatory to provide you with an experience foreign to Laramie.
Throughout the year, you will see the beautiful plants like the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) flowering in the Williams Conservatory. Native to South Africa, this exotic plant grows up to 6 feet fall with large green leaves resembling that of banana plants.
The flower, famous for favoring the crest of a bird, is comprised of three orange and three blue tepals, structures that contain both the sepal and petals. A pollinator in search of nectar, usually a bird, lands on one of the tepals forcing the anthers to emerge from the petals and disperse pollen onto the pollinator’s feet. This pollen is transported to another flower aiding in the reproduction of this beautiful plant. With the design of the flower trapping the pollen, the bird of paradise is given an OPALS (Ogren Plant Allergy Scale) rating of 1, “very low potential to cause allergies.”
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