TODAY'S HOURS: 8 AM – 6 PM

*Last entry is an hour before closing

TODAY'S HOURS: 8 AM – 6 PM

*Last entry is an hour before closing

What Is This Thing? Discovering Stemless Evening Primrose.

Floral illustration from 1829 of stemless evening primrose

It’s one thing to identify a flower when it’s in bloom. Petals, stamens and other features provide all sorts of information to botanists to narrow down the plant’s name and history. Starting with a seed pod is a different matter – especially when the pod is hard, dried, and an indistinct brown. When friends Carol and Cynthia both found particularly tough, dried pods that superficially resemble pine cones, they were baffled. But it takes more than a dried-up pod to baffle the botanists at the BRIT Herbarium. They were able to let Cynthia and Carol know that they had found the dried fruits of Oenothera triloba, or stemless evening primrose.

What Is This Thing? Smooth Ruellia and Why Some Plants Preferred Closed Marriages

Ruella strepens (smooth ruellia)

Botanists and horticulturists love a challenge. That’s why this year we’re introducing a new feature in the newsletter: What Is This Thing? This month, Martha L. of Fort Worth asks us to identify a plant with small flowers than never open. The answer tells a fascinating story about the reproductive strategies of plants–and why some prefer closed to open marriages.