Freaking Huge Philodendron

Huge trunk

Thursday night the SF Bromeliad Society held its meeting at the Conservatory of Flowers. We had the whole place to ourselves, and even got to check out the back greenhouses which aren’t available to the general public. This is Phill’s trunk.  Phill is an old Imperial Philodendron (Philodendron speciosum) that’s been at the Conservatory for over 100 years.


Phill looking large

Back in 1995, SF had a monster wind storm that wreaked havoc on the Conservatory.  Chunks of the building, and many plants were lost.  Fortunately, the damage didn’t include old Phill.

So how do you protect a 35 foot long vining giant from the cold SF nights during reconstruction?  In true MacGyver fashion, a small team rigged up an alert pager system.  If the temp dropped below 58F, the whole team received a page and had less than an hour to respond.  During full reconstruction, the team had to respond 3 times…and successfully kept Old Phill alive.


There are also some 100 year plus cycads hanging out in the same Lowland Tropics section. We took tons and tons of pictures, so we hope you don’t get sick of Conservatory posts :)

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