Audio by Allan Bennell from 2005
Whilst the tropical plants in this house may be unfamiliar, the products produced from them are part of your daily life. As you walk around the pond you might spot the cocoa tree – with tiny white flowers or large orange ponds on its trunk, the coffee bush, banana or rice growing at the edge of the pond. Alongside those plants we eat are also those which have other uses, one of the trees near the entrance to the ferns and fossils house is rubber. Alongside these instantly familiar products, there are those which have a more local use like yams, tapioca and taro.
The market stall displays food and other products derived from plants, giving you a flavour of how reliant we are on plants. They are of great economic importance both globally and locally, providing food and shelter, and other items to make our lives more pleasant.
In Summer the large pond at the centre of this house is home to the giant waterlily, Victoria amazonica. Its huge leaves stretch across the pond throughout the spring and summer months. Scotland’s long summers provide it plenty of light, allowing them to reach these huge sizes, however it has grown from seed every year as there is not enough light to maintain the leaves throughout the winter.