Jungles is another word for “many tropical plants in one place” so urban jungle is the right description of our apartment. But how many are many in my case? I didn’t know the exact answer until now. I’m not gonna know it in a month or so again, as even urban jungle is a living thing, but right now I do know, because I counted and classified: 80 plants belonging to 55 different cultivars or forms, 47 different species of 42 genera, 20 plant families and 12 plant orders.
I decided to go for a scientific(ish) approach and to classify all my plants starting on the plant order level.
Alismatales plant order (arrowhead and pondweed order of flowering plants).
I have 14 plants of 4 species all belonging to Araceae family of the Alismatales order: 4 Aglaonema, 8 Caladium bicolor, one Spathiphyllum and one Zamioculcas zamiifolia. I wrote about growing Caladium indoors before.
Arecales plant order, Arecaceae family – Palms
There are total 13 palms of 8 different species growing in our small apartment. I know it sounds like Dr. Who’s TARDIS, but it’s true. Two largest are Adonidia merrillii growing from seeds collected on Mauritius probably year 2007. Foxtail (Wodyetia bifurcata) is getting rather large too, a seedling from a trip to Thailand probably 4 years ago. The rest are rather small yet: very compact Areca catechu dwarf, a couple years old seedling of Bottle palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis) from Vietnam trip. The smallest are seedlings from last year trip to Costa Rica: Vanuatu palm (Licuala grandis) and Areca vestiaria f. orange. Then there are a couple of Chamaedorea elegans and Chamaedorea metallica, but they will never be space craving.
Asparagales plant order (the asparagus and orchid order)
Grouping my plants here by plants’ orders revealed some, unexpected for me, family relations between seemingly completely different plants. Both orchids, Ti plants (Cordyline fruticosa), Dracaena, Scadoxus, Hippeastrum and even Haworthia belongs to the same order.
Caryophyllales order, Cactaceae family
Cacti are not really aesthetically appealing to me so the only two species I grow belongs to so called tropical cacti. They require the same conditions as the rest of my urban jungle with lot’s of watering and light. I have one Dragon fruit plant (Hylocereus undatus) growing from seed and one Fish-bone cactus (Selenicereus anthonyanus).
I have two of five families of this order: Apocynaceae or dogbane family and Rubiaceae (madder) family. The first one is represented by Hoya carnosa, Mandevila sanderi, Nerium oleander and my beloved Plumeria. The two species I got in Rubiaceae family are two small yet seedlings of Ixora coccinea and Coffea arabica.
The mint order is represented by two colorful leafy plants: Fittonia albivenis, which I’ve been writing about and Plectranthus scuttellarioides, better known as Coleus.
I have only one plant from the lily order and it’s Gloriosa superba or African climbing lily.
Malpighiales order, Euphorbiaceae family
A small Araucaria heterophylla or Norfolk Island pine have the honor to serve as our Christmas tree. Not that we have a shortage of real pines in Sweden, but it blends better into tropical vegetation of our home.
Another unexpected for me result of order classification is that bromeliads are members of grass order, while bananas and Heliconia, technically looking more grassy, are not.
Alphabetically the last order on my list, but absolutely not last in my heart. Bananas, Heliconia, Bird of Paradise and my largest plant Ravenala madagascariensis (Travelers tree) are all among the most tropical mood creators in our house.
Here is the whole jungle in one list: